Saying Goodbye to the Coffee Guy

I’ve stopped at the same coffee stand on my way to work for the past four and half years. The owner of the place doesn’t have to ask what I’d like. As soon as he sees my car approach, he knows to make a grande´ non-fat sugar- free caramel and chocolate latte´.

Every morning I’ve been greeted with a large grin and lively conversation about everything from the weather to how well the Mariners or Seahawks played in the game the night before. My coffee guy has always had an optimistic, upbeat view of life. That short conversation in the morning has been a little ray of sunshine on some of the dreariest Seattle days.

But, I won’t be able to stop at the coffee stand much longer.

About a month ago he was told that with the expansion of the road his stand is located near, he would have to relocate his business. No ifs, ands, or buts. He’s being forced out and needs to move off the property. The original date set for his removal was March 1st. Yesterday he was given a six week extension.

Of course he’d like to stay. Over the years he’s built a loyal clientele. People of all ages stop by to chat and pick up their favorite drinks all day long.

He’s looked everywhere, but hasn’t been able to find a suitable location in the area. Over the past several weeks I’ve watched him go from a happy-go-lucky kind of guy to someone who looks stressed and worn out.

My heart aches for him. He has a family to support. He’s put so much into the business and into making his customers happy…and now it probably feels like it’s all being flushed down the toilet.

I’m angry with the city for doing this to him. And he’s not the only one losing. So are his customers. But, it also made me realize how much I’ve appreciated his grin and morning banter. As small as it may seem, he’s made a large impact on the people in the community. Wherever he finds a place to land, he’ll charm and bring a little cheer into people’s lives there.

I guess we never know how we may affect people – regardless of how trivial a smile or a few kind words may seem.

So…say hello or offer a stranger a smile.
Make a difference in someone else’s day.

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