To The Barista at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the Everyday Hero Who Made My Day

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gifts from one of the kindest baristas. 
You totally didn't have to do what you did. But you totally did. And it made such a difference to me, a mama who rarely has all her ducks in a row.  Today I just happened to forget one of the more important ducks: the wallet duck. Headdesk. 

I almost didn't come here today to write. It's not exactly budget-friendly to purchase coffee or food on a regular basis so that I can have an energetic yet quiet enough space away from my home and my precious people there to process my thoughts, to write them down, to get them out here. In my childhood I was brought up to try as much as possible not to spend unnecessary money, and purchases like this might be seen as unnecessary. But here sounded just a tad better, even if it was further away than my other options. These are precious quiet creative hours, so the location counts. It counts so much. Plus, I was really looking forward to the chocolate chunk muffin that is my weakness here.

I walked in, excited and prepared for the four solid hours that I will have to write, to organize, to respond to emails to to submit essays on the chance (the chance!) that they will be accepted for publication. I'm only at the beginning of this writing journey, but I have received good news and "try again" news (and worse, no news) in my inbox this week. It's exhilarating, and it's exhausting. It doesn't always feel like I'm choosing to do a responsible thing with my time - four hours in a coffee shop? Writing? For something you only might get paid for? But, for my soul and my mind this is good. It's therapy. It's a massage. It's good and honorable work. 

So when I ordered coffee and then opted to treat myself to a chocolate chunk muffin as well, only to look down into my purse and realize to my horror that I'd left my wallet at home in the diaper bag that has actually become my purse, I was a little crushed. It would take at least fifteen precious minutes to drive back home, and then fifteen minutes to drive back here. Half of a precious hour of creative time, loss of energy and motivation. It wouldn't make sense to come back here and claim the yummy chocolate chunk muffin at all, actually. So I said what made sense: "I'm so sorry, I forgot my wallet at home. I have to go home and get it."

"Don't worry, I've got it," you said.

"Wait, what?"

"It's fine, once a month we get to give a free drink, so this one's yours."

"Wait, really? Oh my gosh! Wow! Thank you!"

I wish I'd gushed a little more, because seriously, to win the lottery of free coffee on the day you've forgotten your wallet is a pretty great lottery to win. Especially for a mama who has precious little time. I also expected that because it was the cup of coffee that was free, the chocolate chunk muffin was out of the deal. No biggie - I was getting free coffee, gratefully. Plus, I really don't need a chocolate chunk muffin, like, ever. 

But when you set my coffee (regular sized, not downgraded to a small or anything) out on the bar, there was a bag with the chocolate chunk muffin right next to it. 


"Wait - you're not including the muffin, are you?"

"Yeah, no problem! Enjoy!"

I am floored. Also, I am struggling, because I have a really, really hard time receiving things that I have not paid for myself. Seriously, very difficult. (Like - I haven't even gone over to put cream in my coffee because that would be receiving something that wasn't mine, right? Issues, people, issues.)

So, here I sit with my chocolate chunk muffin and what is perhaps the most delicious cup of coffee ever because it was given with kindness, writing a story about this day-sweetening interaction because I have been given the best kind of gift: one given unexpectedly and without expectation. Rare.

One of the articles I wrote recently, one I'm waiting to hear back on, was a list of people who are my everyday heroes as a parent. If it gets accepted, I'm going to have to add "baristas who give me free coffee and chocolate chunk muffins when I've forgotten my wallet" to that list. Thank you, everyday hero, for rescuing my afternoon. Your kindness goes further than you know.

One Grateful Writer-Mama 

P.S. Pretty much can't ever choose Starbucks when there's a CB&TL nearby, now. Way to win a customer.

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