life lessons from a coffee shop

For almost two months, I’ve been working at a local coffee shop in Oak bay.

It’s been really interesting, learning all the new drinks and foods to make.

But one thing I’ve noticed, is that I am in fact learning much more about life lessons than about coffee.

One important thing I have learnt, is to always smile and say “good morning/evening, how are you?”. Some people give an answer quickly to keep up with their supposedly busy lives, but I have heard so many interesting stories from the people who engage.

I heard a story about a couple who went to Albania, the wife fell in love with two dogs who lived on the street. They came home to Canada, then the wife felt obligated to go back to Albania and take these two (not-so-small) dogs home.

Another person told me a crazy story about an issue with his car licence plate, someone had stolen it and the tow truck company made him pay to move his car. But the day he told me that story was the day he was happily able to drive his car again.

One man who comes in at least once a day, always has something interesting to say. Some time he drops of CDs full of all different types of music, sometimes we discuss weather, sometimes we just have a conversation. He will spend hours sitting by himself, with his banana bread and dark roast coffee, reading joke books. And when I come to clean the tables near him, he always tells me the funniest jokes he can find, and even though I might not always find them very amusing, seeing his smile when he tells the joke is enough to make me laugh and smile.

This particular man has taught me the importance of simplicity. It seems to me that he focuses on two factors in his life, making others smile and doing things that make him smile.

The most important thing I’ve learnt, is that the simple act of saying good morning with a smile on your face could be the best part of someones day. Often I find customers can be slightly shocked when I ask how their day is going. Just talking for even twenty seconds is enough time to make someone smile, and learn something about them.

I’ve really enjoyed working at the coffee shop and I can’t wait for more lessons to come. It turns out that you can learn a lot from a cup of coffee.

4 thoughts on “life lessons from a coffee shop

  1. Hi. I’m so glad that you’re doing this! It’s wonderful and empowering to be able to earn your own money and tips isn’t it. What are you going to spend it on I wonder? As you know, you’re starting to learn all those valuable life skills that will stand you in good stead forever. I agree with you about the importance of a cheery hello or good morning. There are so many lonely people (or alone people) that we pass every day on the street and who really value a kind work from someone. I was filling my car with petrol last week and said good morning to a man filling his car next to me. When I went in to the cashier to pay, the man thanked me for speaking to him. I felt taken aback by this and vowed to speak to more people each day! As you can imagine your granddad rolled his eyes at this one! Looking forward to seeing you next month and hearing more about your new, expanded life. Jane. X

  2. Dear Claire

    I am writing you from a singing cruise I have just begun off the Coast of Maine, and then into the St. Lawrence River before returning to Vancouver next Friday. I loved your blog, and could really relate thinking of some of the other people your age that have served me both at our hotel in Boston, where we boarded the ship, in Montreal yesterday, where we flew to early evening from Boston, and especially today on my hiking tour in Maine. Off to my practice now!. Love to you and all the family! Love, Frances

  3. “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

    Oh, the power, the magic of a smile!

    Keep smiling, Claire!

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