I practically never visit Starbucks, but the other day I did. At the counter the following fragment of a conversation takes place.
–Customer, C (foreign man around 30): Give me a smile. Can you smile, man?
–Starbucks guy, SG: (Continues with the customers credit card)
–C: Really, you need to learn to smile. What’s wrong with you? Give me a smile!
–SG: (Politely) Is all okay with you, sir?
–C: With me, terrific! With you, I am not so sure… Hey, forget it, cancel the buy.
–SG: (Cancels, and gives him back his card).
–C: (at the door) You really need to learn to smile, man.
There are so many interactions taking place in a big city every day, but this one I will remember. Why? I am not sure.
Of course my written words are not the very exact words, also they cannot capture the whole event. There was also tone of voice, body language, faces and the very bodies of the two persons involved.
The insistence of asking for a smile could have been rude or arrogant. It didn’t see it that way. It was more like a benign but stern and demanding teacher scolding a student. Almost like an oracle speaking.
I am sure the young man behind the counter will remember this episode, at least I hope he will.
The main thing I took with me from this was an energy of generosity: Somebody does not accept your second best, your 99 1/2 or 67 1/2. Somebody ask you to be your best. We didn’t ask him to coach us, but he does anyway. (And maybe our soul did ask for it, but we forgot that episode.)