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And I don’t even drink coffee. It’s a weird one but in an industry where it can sometimes be a chore to get pleasantries from wait staff, it’s nice to walk into a place, meet a friendly face and they leave you with an impression that makes it easy for you to keep coming back.
My barista was more than just the woman who presented me with baked goods in a monetary exchange, she was fun and cheerful and friendly. She knew what I wanted as I walked in; a croissant and a cold drink, even on the coldest of days, and never chastised me for my poor choices. Sometimes I’d throw in a cookie, other times a flapjack, and she had a knack of knowing the combination on any random day. This pleasant behaviour was not reserved for me, everyone who walked through the door was treated to the same cheerfulness. She knew orders by heart, always greeted with a smile and made pleasant chit chat with everyone, as much as she could and all done with a sense of urgency as she respected the fact that you had to get on with your day.
The service industry often receives a short shrift; grumpy staff and nonchalant attitudes, which often follows with the need to speak with a manager and make a complaint about the service or lack thereof, received. Sometimes a refusal to pay a service charge, or leave a tip. We’ve all been there; sometimes it’s difficult to think about the plight of the person whose job it is to wait upon us, to smile as we walk in, show us to our tables, bring our meals etc. In the humdrum of our day-to-day, aloofness throws us into self-involvement.
Sometimes we have to stop and check the privilege we walk in with, the preconceived notion and the entitlement that come with… for lack of a better term.
Back to the fact that I miss my barista, I am happy that she has moved on, happy that now I notice the other people who worked with her, and how her mannerisms rubbed off on them. I notice their smiles and cheerfulness a thing I was adamant not to the first few days of her absence because I missed her. Some days I walk in expecting to see her behind the counter, I am served by someone who handles me with the same loveliness she once did and so I return if only the feel the familiar of Claudia, my barista, wishing her success on her endeavours, wherever they take her.