Learning Good Lessons from a Bad Experience with a Barista

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I had a bad experience that taught me to take bad experiences in stride.

Every week, I like to go to a local Starbucks to sit down and write a blog post. Today was that day. However, instead of minding my own business as I usually do, the barista’s attitude got the best of me.

I walked into the local Starbucks, lying my stuff down onto a seat at the long wood table set in the front of the café. I walked into line. There was only one person ahead of me and she finished completing her order quickly.

I walked to the cashier with my eyes glancing over the barista at to the menu set behind her. I pondered whether to purchase a Butterscotch latte, a drink I’ve never tried before, nor knew they even existed.

“How are you?” I greeted.

“Good,” she said curtly. While I don’t usually mind if I don’t receive a greeting in response, she said it in a way that made me feel like I offended her by asking her in such a polite tone. I paid no mention to it.

“May I have a medium Butterscotch latte with almond milk, please?” She begins tapping at the register’s screen. She pulls a cup from the stack on the counter and grabs a sharpie hanging from her apron.

“Is that good?” I said.

She ignores me. She looks up at me and says, “What’s your name?”

My cheeks drop. My eyebrows furrowed.

“R-EH-sty,” enunciating the “eh” sound because I’ve taken the hint. Her attitude exudes bad vibes, and she changed the way I felt about that situation entirely.

“Five fifty-five,” she said. Completely ignoring the fact that she existed as a human and beginning to treat her like an automated machine, I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket to prompt my Starbucks gift card and rose my hand to the scanner.

“Anytime you’re ready go ahead and put your..” the scanner beeps. Before she finished, I walked away.

I later notice while I was already writing that she failed to spell my name correctly. She spelled it with a “u” even though I accentuated the “e.” Thanks for the cherry on top.

From that little instance of treating me with a bad attitude, my personality completely changed. I didn’t want to acknowledge her from that point forth; however, when I went to sit down, I continued to think about the exchange.

What had I done to cause her to treat me that way? Was it the way I approached her? The way I looked? Was it the fact that I come to this Starbucks all the time to write?

I felt inclined to leave a bad review on Google, but I thought about the other employees working at this particular Starbucks, and how that would have affected them, as well as how I would look to them. They’ve been very kind to me, even going so far as to remember my name, and that goes a long way with me.

My name is unique, “Resty,” but I love it. And I notice when people make the effort to learn my name after having heard me say it. When people stop to take a second thought to think about my name, I notice.

“Did you say, ‘R-eh-sty?’” My eyes light up. I smirk. “Yup.”

It shows that the person I’m talking with is listening to me. It shows that the person I’m talking with is paying attention to what I’m saying enough to pick up the subtle differences in my words. This woman from Starbucks deliberately spelled my name incorrectly.

I sat boiling with anger in my gut. But, what calmed me down was writing about it. Seeing myself maliciously wanting her to experience an ill fate. That experience changed me, and I shouldn’t be changed by a bad experience.

What makes good people truly good is remaining unwavering despite what outside forces may warrant otherwise.

The way I react to a situation speaks to both my personality and the person I am. The way I respond to a situation speaks more about me than it does about the other person.

In a year from now, when I’m not longer going to this Starbucks, when I’m going to a different coffee shop to write, I’m never going to see that woman in my life again, but I’ll still have more experiences with several more baristas, some more kind than others, and I’ll have the experiences I had in my past. I’m always going to have to face bad situations, but it’s how I respond to them that builds character.

I continued sitting at the long table. I didn’t post a review. I didn’t make a big deal about it. But it did make me think twice about bad situations, and taking bad situations in stride. While her bad vibes affected my personality at the moment, I shouldn’t let it affect my overall outlook on life, and that’s to treat people kind despite who they may be. Spreading kindness doesn’t involve selecting who’s entitled to kindness.

I thought, she might just be having a bad day. I thought, maybe she just needed to call me “Rusty” one time to relieve some stress. Whatever the reason, being disciplined enough not react to a bad situation, or even reacting positively like that can do more for a person’s character than responding with the same negative responds like I did. Next time I find myself in a situation like that again, I resist the urge to be mean in response and just be nice.


Blog #015

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