Coffee ordered, we sat at a corner table to check in on life since we last spoke. Family, work and the state of the world.
The amiable waiter brought steaming cups and we stopped to savour the moment. After all, there’s an almost reverent feel to that first cup of the day.
Lifting her cup, something caught her eye and she paused. A hair lay across the heart shaped foam on her coffee. It was the wrong hair colour for either of us, but a perfect match for the waiter.
I know. You’re thinking ‘ugh!’ We did too. With dismay, she removed the offending object and sat looking at the coffee.
‘I guess I could ask them to make me another, but it seems like a lot of fuss. They didn’t mean for it to happen.’
Really? And there ensued a conversation about how we settle, by not speaking up when things aren’t right.
‘I was always told not to make a scene when things aren’t exactly how I want them to be. Just to put up with the situation.’
The effect is to leave us feeling small, just another chapter in the story we tell ourselves of not worthy enough to have what we ask for.
With encouragement, she stood and went to the counter and spoke with the barista. Simply telling the facts and asking for what she wanted, she said, ‘Excuse me, but there’s hair in my coffee, could you please make me a fresh cup?’
The same waiter brought it to her and the gracious exchange on both sides reminded each of us that standing for ourselves doesn’t have to be the domain of blame and anger. Rather it’s the quiet decision to make things right and the fearless acknowledgment of what’s happened.
Does it always end this well? No, of course not. But that’s not a valid reason for staying quiet.
Always know the difference between what you’re getting and what you deserve, and go ask for more.