I was sitting in Starbucks early in the morning watching a man ask people for change. It was teeming out and I’d say a good fifteen folk passed by without so much as a look. He didn’t even want money…from what I could see he was asking someone to please buy him a cup of coffee from what I call the cheap cart. They’re all over town…little grimy wagons that sell bad coffee and bagels you could injure someone with. We’re talking a buck seventy-five for both items, at best.
Let’s remember this is the Upper East Side, and as these roosters hurry to their gyms and yoga class they could certainly buy someone a bad cup of coffee.
I’m impoverished at this hour half awake, so I only have my trusty Starbucks card with little on it, and some change in my pocket. Hey, I’m lucky I’m not naked, that’s how sleepy I am walking out the door.
After getting madder and madder no one will help this guy, I decide to pull an Ella, a pal of mine who spends her life in service. While he stands on the corner beneath a humungous umbrella, the rain falls harder and harder. I half expect the Ark to pull up to see if he needs a ride.
Then his umbrella breaks.
He, turned out to be a she, all of seventeen when I poked my head out to motion for her to come inside.
Pretty as a doll, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, I asked her if I could buy her a cup of coffee, not even sure I had enough on my card to do so. Now I’m pissed that I’m probably going to embarrass both of us when the snotty cashier tells me, nope, you don’t have enough.
I kindly explain this to the girl who nods and orders a tall, small in Starbuck’s lingo, while I hold my breath. Yes, I still have coffee money. Then I decide to go for broke, probably literally. “Is there enough for a bagel?” Then I realize I didn’t even ask her if she wanted one.
“Would you even like a bagel?”
“Yes, please,” she says, flashing dimples I hadn’t seen before.
I look at snotty who looks at me like a croupier with a secret button under the counter.
“Yup, you have enough.” Whew…was I glad I didn’t have to negotiate for a baked good, something I was all prepared to do.
The girl thanked me while I left thinking, I’m sure glad I have a friend like Ella who always comes to mind in a situation like this one. I can hear her whisper…go ahead SB, help her out.
It’s a pity there weren’t more hearts like Ella’s, then I’d still have money on my Starbucks card.