I did what any crazy person does and attended some of the ‘Black Friday’ shopping after Thanksgiving.
Much to the dismay of my husband, I asked to stop at the “bucks” of “star” for an overpriced mocha frappe latte triple sweet cold foam second Cousin Eddie’s twice removed espresso.
Okay, it was a vanilla latte.
ANYWAY, back to my point.
I do have one.
As we enter the holidays, you tend to have a few sets of attitudes that come with the territory.
One, like myself, is all for the magical feeling of holiday cheer.
I will be the one wearing an elf hat while grocery shopping or singing jingle bells randomly at the checkout.
I genuinely love the spirit of the season and more than likely am related to Buddy the Elf somehow.
Then you will have the lady at the coffee shop that I encountered this last weekend.
“You didn’t warm up my cookie.” – she said as she tossed the bag containing said cookie across the counter at the employee.
“We did, ma’am, but you did a mobile order, and it was filled 25 minutes ago” – explained the barista.
“I don’t CARE when it was. My order said warmed cookie and you failed!” – she glanced at me shaking her head to get me to agree to their obvious negligence.
“We will get you a new cookie and we will warm it for you.”
“Yes, you will.” She said stomping back to her coffee shop perch on a high-top stool.
As she buried her head into her phone screen once again, I caught the employees giving each other “the eyes” of discomfort.
The cookie was warmed and once again placed on the counter.
They called the woman’s name, and she didn’t flinch from her screen.
They called her name again.
Once again, she didn’t move.
Eventually she slid off her stool and waltzed over to the cookie.
She peered inside the bag and pulled it out.
“COLD AGAIN!” – she yelled. “I can NOT believe this place!”
Once again, the barista came back to the front counter and explained that they had called her name twice as they do with all orders, and then moved on to the next.
“I don’t give a !@#$@#$ what you do with every order. This is my order and all I wanted is a warm cookie with my coffee. You can’t even do that right!”
It became apparent to the imaginary Dr. Phil within me that this was not about the cookie at all.
Doesn’t everyone have a Southern bald man in their conscience?
Something else was causing this aggression.
Something much deeper than a cold chocolate chip cookie.
She continued to scream at the poor girl behind the counter until I could not take it anymore.
“You’re doing an excellent job.” I said to the barista cutting off the irate woman. “This is a busy place and you are keeping it under control really well.”
The woman stood beside me still huffing from her last lash out at the girl.
“…and with the holidays” I continued “it gets even worse as some people love the magic of the season and for some it is so very difficult to find.”
The barista gave me a nod and a small smile knowing what I was trying to do.
She once again slid the warmed cookie across the counter at the woman who was now standing there looking a bit uncomfortable.
“Thank you.” She grumbled.
I leaned into the barista before grabbing my coffee that was now ready and said “It was never about the cookie nor you. Please know that. You did great.”
I began to walk out with my coffee when the Grinch stopped me and said, “I’m sorry.”
“Please don’t be sorry to me, but I would say sorry to the barista. She was doing her best.”
As I grabbed the door handle, I saw her slowly walking towards the counter to speak with the young employee.
In my mind and heart, she said an appropriate apology.
At least, I hope that she did.
I got into the car where my husband had been waiting for what he described as a full lifetime.
I told him the short version of what I had just encountered and how much I realize that this time of the year can bring up and bring out SO many emotions.
Both good and bad.
How we don’t always know the story behind the attitudes.
How some people float on a marshmallow cloud of confectionery holiday magic and some simply sit in reindeer doo-doo.
Most of the time we will never know why people behave the way that they do.
We don’t all have time to lay it all out for a professional to pick away at.
This season, you will encounter folks that seem like they could invite you to the swirly gumdrop express and some that will give you a shovel for the reindeer stalls while feeding them refried beans.
How they behave is their journey.
You will want to react.
That’s a very human thing to want to do!
Here is the best part though, you don’t have to match their energy.
You get the rare control to own something completely.
When that member comes in yelling about a fee.
When that member comes in ticked off at the world about a charge.
When someone comes in with the energy of fight club.
We don’t always get the luxury of knowing why people are feeling and acting the way that they do, but we can breathe, take a moment, and react in a way that is reflective of the person we want to project.
…and when life hands you a cold chocolate chip cookie, put it on your dashboard and hit the heat.