I was in line at the Starbucks I ALWAYS went to at lunch, to bitch about work with some colleagues. This large, middle-aged woman had butted in front of me right before it was my turn with the barista, but she seemed kind of urgent about it, so I gave her the benefit of a doubt.
Then, she just starts tearing into the barista, who’s this really sweet, bubbly, 19-year-old college kid. She calls her a ‘***king bitch,’ asks how she can’t even get an order of coffee right, and THEN, launches into some diatribe about how “even the mexicans do a better job at Burger King,” or some random-ass ****. It’s pretty busy, at this point, and this lady is SCREAMING bloody murder at this poor girl. The barista was terrified–looked like she was about to burst into tears. The woman screams that she wants to see the manager, and the barista runs into the back.
So over the couple of minutes this took place, I resolved to do this thing that my grandpa said he did once. I reached into my pocket, and fished out a $20 bill. I then tapped the woman on the shoulder during the thick silence that had fallen over the room.
She looked at me like an angry cat just before it claws your face open. I resolved myself and projected.
“I know it’s none of my business, but I’m pretty sure that even the manager is going to think that you’re a monster. So here,” I hand her the $20 bill. “Ten bucks ought to cover the coffee, and there’s another 10 in there for you if you promise never to come back here again, you terrible devil-woman.” (The ‘devil-woman’ was the best I could come up with off the cuff, but not too bad).
So she starts tearing into me at the same time the Starbucks is bursting into applause. She goes off for a moment, but the heckling got so bad from the crowd, that she just gave me a death stare, snatched the 20 out of my hand, and left.
The manager gives me a free coffee and a $50 gift card, and I got a hug from the (crying her eyes out) barista.
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