Monday, September 21, 2015

Last Order Of The Day

Late in a long, busy day in the cafe, the last of the customers have finally left and I'm in pack-down-clean-up-and-get-out mode. The door opens and a guys wants to know if we are still open. I tell him we are closed but I can still make him a takeaway coffee if he wants. I leave cleaning the coffee machine until the very end of the day for this very reason. The guy tells me a takeaway coffee would be great.

He then launches into a garbled story about his mother being in hospital and he doesn't have any money but here - I have this bag full of things so I can leave it here and come back with the money.

Awesome, I think - this is just a great way to end the day. He's a street person, clearly wired up wrong. I should have just said that we were closed and I know he would have left. Irritated, I find myself hurriedly making a coffee that I will never see payment for. I want to make it fast to get him out and so that I can get on with closing up.

He continues talking almost to himself, but he clearly thinks he is having a conversation, perhaps with me.

I feel guilty for being irritated, and I slow down. I decide to make him the best coffee I can, as though he is one of our paying customers, because in the big scheme of things, it's just a cup of coffee. And how good must a good, hot latte with two sugars taste when you're living rough?

He takes his coffee and his bag full of things and his muttered conversation, and he leaves the cafe, perhaps thinking he has pulled a swifty on me. I really don't care, I just hope he enjoys his coffee.

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