Published on Monday, July 21, 2014
There I was. It’s always kinda’ funny when you start a story like that. But, it’s true, I was there…at Starbuck’s that is. I had an appointment with a great customer and friend at Wakarusa, IN. I needed to get there, but nature called. I had also needed to stop for some coffee after a restless night’s sleep. But, you know when you have to go so bad that the hair is standing up on your arms? It was like that.
Well, I hurried into Starbucks and thought I’d visit the restroom first when much to my dismay, someone was in there. Darn! I figured I may as well go ahead and get some coffee while I wait. This is where it began. This is where it always begins. Someone read the sign on my forehead that reads, “Talk to me. Tell me all of your life’s problems. Please!”
I ordered my coffee when from behind me came a voice. “I’ll take care of that bill.” I thought it surely must be someone that I know. I turned to find a complete stranger who then offered to buy me any pastry my stomach so desired. I respectfully declined and told him that he didn’t need to do that. He insisted.
I politely thanked him and headed to the restroom. But again, someone was still in there. I began to do the potty dance. I turned back from the restroom and found my coffee man standing right there, introducing himself and asking my name. After the introduction, he asked me if I had heard of Match.com.
Photo Credit: The Drum
I had. He begins to tell me that his wife passed away from cancer a few years ago and he finally got on the site to find a date. He met this great lady who he began dating. I said, “That’s great! I hope that works out for you. Thanks again for the coffee. I need to go to the restroom and head to an appointment. But, thanks again for the kindness.” He replied with, “Just one more thing.”
He begins to relay a five minute story about how he was riding his bike with racing tires, in the rain, when he flipped over the handlebars and landed on his head. He awoke in the hospital dazed and confused. He had cracked his skull and had brain damage. He’s been seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist for a while now. His match.com lady friend has recently been pulling away from him too.
He then asked me, “Do you think her pulling away has anything to do with my head trauma?” I told him that I had no idea and I really appreciated the coffee, but I need to get to the restroom and head to my appointment. By now, it’s been 10 minutes! His response? “Okay, but just one minute.” Maybe I’m too nice and willing to listen. Or, maybe I do have a sign on my forehead.
He then proceeded to tell me that he knows a guy at his church that owns both a local and high-end golf course in Sarasota, FL and is extremely wealthy. I responded with the same response as before. “That’s great! Thanks for the coffee. I REALLY need to use the restroom and get to my appointment.” His response? “Okay, but just one minute.” I am now 20 minutes into this when I was finally able to get to the restroom. I thought I may actually die! Can your bladder explode? I wasn’t sure, but luckily it didn’t.
I peeked out the door slowly when I was done, attempting to make sure he was gone. He was. Great! I headed to the truck only to find that he had parked right beside me and was standing there walking his dog.
He approached with, “Hey Ryan, one more thing.” He gave me his cell phone number and e-mail address and asked if we could get together sometime. He said I was a great listener. Oh boy! When he asked for my cell phone number I responded with my usual, “I have an appointment. Thanks again for the coffee. I have to go.” He said, “No problem. Call me sometime.”
I rolled up my window, put the truck in reverse, looked over my shoulder for oncoming traffic, when I heard a tapping on my driver’s side window. I should’ve ignored it, but it’s not in my nature to just be rude. I rolled it down and another five minute story commenced on a guy he knows that sells seed. Aaaaggghhhh!!!!!!
I was finally able to get away after over 30 minutes, seven or eight thanks for the coffees, an almost ruptured bladder, and a late appointment…
So did I learn from all of this? Every encounter in life is an opportunity to learn something.
It has taken me a while to figure out what this one was. But, it finally came to me. In life, there are people who are lonely. There are people who are hurting. There are people, who if we heard their stories, would break your heart.
I thought this guy was doing me a service by buying my coffee, but who knows…maybe it was the other way around. Maybe a five-minute conversation, or in this case a 30 minute one, may do wonders for the person on the other end. It may be just what they needed at the right time.
So the lesson learned is this: God puts people in our paths at just the right moment, at just the right time, for a specific purpose, seldom known to us. If we have that perspective, seemingly annoying people take on a new light. Be patient. Be kind. You just may be doing more good than you can possibly imagine.
Author: Ryan McAllister
Categories: Field Stories
Tags: Beck's Blog, Ryan McAllister, Field Stories, #payitforward, Gotta' Go, Starbucks, Coffee, Life Lessons, Leo Buscaglia
Practical Farm Research Director at Beck's.
7/24/2014 4:04 PM
Awesome word Ryan yes I remember that day well :-)