Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dear Charlie:

Proof positive that you can make ridiculously long-lasting impressions through even the most cursory of interactions:

So last night, I needed to go by Wal-mart, but I hate going to Wal-mart. I hate shopping in general, but Wal-mart is always a madhouse, and I usually talk myself out of going by either hitting a grocery store or Dollar General. I can usually only talk myself into Wal-mart when I would have to hit both stores, otherwise.

Yeah, last night was one of those nights. So, I bribed myself. I made myself a deal: if I went to the dreaded Wal-mart, I could stop by and get a venti Earl Grey tea latte on the way home. I hadn't had one in a while, so I was jonesing for my fix.

So, after running the Wal-mart gauntlet, I dutifully pulled into the drive-thru at Starbucks (also not my favorite place, but they do have that one drink), put in my order, and proceeded to roll up my window so I could belt out "She's Not There" with Santana. When I get up to the window, correct change in hand, the barista guy looks at me funny before taking my money.

"Didn't you use to have a different car?"

I just kinda blinked at him for a moment because, no, I've had Big Bad George for three years now, and I honestly didn't recognize the kid. Before I can come up with something to say, he goes ahead and takes my money and explains himself.

"It's just... you're the only one who ever gets this, and I could have sworn you had a white car."

I kind of laughed. "Well, yeah, I had a white car before this one, but that was like three years ago."

He brightened. "That explains it. I left for a while and just came back, so yeah, that was you."

By this time, someone handed him my tea latte, and he even remembered to stopper it for me. I was more than a little boggled and couldn't help but ask, "Good grief, man, how did you remember that?"

He just grinned and shrugged. "Like I said, you're the only one who orders this, and you're always really nice about it if we're out of Earl Grey. You were even nice the time I gave you a plain old Earl Grey without the latte. You just brought it in and smiled and asked if it'd be possible to just add some steamed milk because you didn't want us to have to remake it."

"Holy crap, that was you?"

"Yup."

Shaking my head, I gave the kid an extra dollar and thanked him kindly and went along my way. Who knew, huh? I mean, I know firsthand how customers treat people in service jobs, but still... to be remembered who knew how many years later just for not throwing a fit?

Wow.

I am, however, very glad to be remembered for being nice instead of for being a pain in the ass for being the only person ordering an item that's no longer on the menu. Whew!

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