Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Coffee with patience

I went to get a coffee at Au Bon Pain this morning, and there were lots of people milling around. A young woman was standing in front of the Cafe Roast, which is what I wanted, filling up three huge cups and adding sugar and cream, which took a few minutes. I started to think, 'hey, get out of the way,' but when she noticed me and apologized for taking so long, my nice gene took over.
"That's OK," I said. "Did you win the lottery and have to get coffee for everyone?"
"Yeah, I'm the lucky one," she replied.
"Well, as long as everyone takes turns ...." I offered.
She laughed and said, "The problem is, it's always me, we don't take turns."
"Well, there's a reward for you somewhere down the line, then." I replied, and we smiled.
She was a few people in back of me in the cashier line, and when I turned to leave, she said, "Have a good one," even though she could have just ignored me, and I said, "You too."
Sometimes it feels like extending compassion to others costs us a lot, and we aren't willing to part with it, but a lot of times it becomes a bargain when you realize that you did the kind, graceful thing rather than the gut-reaction, selfish thing.

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