Dear Coffee Guy at the Mall in the Middle of Nowhere,

I can’t imagine what you must have seen–two girls, looking around with wide eyes and tired shoulders, standing unconsciously almost back-to-back so that nothing could surprise them, and staring at the menu with blank looks on their faces–okay, maybe I can imagine it a little.  But I don’t know what prompted you to help them.  It was the end of your shift, probably, the mall was closing soon, so maybe you helped them to get them out so you could close up shop.  But I’m choosing to believe you helped them because there’s some good left in the world.

See, we were lost.  We told you that, I think, told you that we were tired and nearly broke.  We didn’t tell you we were far from home or that our phones were dead, we’re not dumb enough for that, but I imagine you got that idea when you heard us asking each other what city we were in.  I don’t believe we ever found an answer to that question, but that’s not your fault; this is the sort of thing that happens to us frequently.

When you asked these girls if you could help them, if they knew what they wanted, and their only answer was “I don’t know,” you could have waited for them to make up their minds.  Instead, you chose to walk them through their order, asking them what they liked and didn’t like, and telling them you had it handled.  That was nice of you, but I suppose almost any guy working at an empty coffee shop would do the same.  We pooled our money and ordered a large iced coffee to split–I’ve found that iced coffee sends the caffeine in a more direct route to the bloodstream–and you set about making our order.  We talked amongst ourselves, not paying attention to what you were doing.  I don’t remember what we talked about, but it probably revolved around more wondering where we were and how we were going to get home and if the taller of the two would ever find a prom dress.  She did, by the way.  Because of this, when you set two full cups of coffee on the counter, all we could do was look at you confused.  We may have stammered something about only ordering one, but I honestly don’t remember.  Whether we said anything or not, you told us that you had “accidentally” made too much coffee and had “accidentally” added an extra espresso shot, and you only charged us for the one regular cup.

I don’t remember what you looked like–in my mind now you look like a kindly old hippie, but that could just be wishful thinking–or sounded like or really anything about you.  I don’t know how tired and lost we must have looked, or whether you were just bored and looking for something out of the ordinary to do.  Maybe this sort of thing isn’t out of the ordinary for you.  You probably don’t even remember it.  But I do.  And I wanted to say thanks.  Nothing was really going right that day, and you made it all a little bit better.  So thank you.


One of the Two Tired-Looking Girls in the Coffee Shop in the Mall in the Middle of Nowhere


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