That time of year …

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It’s that time of year. The holidays. When the holidays are over every year I wait around throughout the seasons just for the holidays to return. I love them, I can’t get enough, I’m not ashamed and I’m happiest when celebrating the holidays! People tend to either do two things: slow down and realize the meaning of the holidays and what’s important or join the hustle and bustle and miss the big picture completely. I used to be in the hustle and bustle crowd until I got smacked in the face with reality and the true meaning of the holidays. Ever since then I have seen them in a new light (no pun intended) and made them even more special and dear to me.

Everyone seems so upset and shocked when they ask me what my Thanksgiving plans are and I say “working, most likely.” I don’t know why people take it so offensively because honestly the people who act shocked the most are the same people who will be waking up at 10 am on Thanksgiving morning thinking “I need Starbucks” and therefore…that is why I am working on Thanksgiving. I have been doing it now for about 4 years I guess. I’m not that opposed. I am very thankful and I love spending time with my family but Thanksgiving has never been a HUGE celebration in my family. Christmas is more intimate and special in my family.

This year I was reminded of why I love the holidays at Starbucks and why I don’t mind working these shifts (not to mention the time and a half pay). Some people may know that one of my best friends brother took his life this past July and it has been a long hard road for that family and every life that Michael touched. It was a shock to the world and loosing someone so dear so quick is something that can’t ever be understood and will be something we will never forget or “get over.” It is a daily reminder to cherish who you have in your life and where you are in life. Michael was a beautiful soul full of life and passion for people and one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. One thing I knew is that Michael LOVED his family and family was his core. This is the first thanksgiving that my friend had to deal without her brother, without her sidekick.

As I went to work on Thanksgiving I knew my daddy was hunting, my mama was cooking, my brother was hanging out or with his girl. My brother…. then I thought of Katie and how she was alone. My heart grieved for her and I just wanted to be there for her. Do you ever just wish you could be two people and be in two different places at once? All the time. My other half is usually in New York.

Business was busy as usual and we were closing early at 4:00 on Thursday. With that in mind, although I love my job, I was ready to close the place down and drive an hour home. Around 3:45 we had a hugeeee spurt of people coming in for their last minute coffee. Aha, that’s why we had so many phone calls asking when we closed. I swear Apple was our enemy Thursday because everyone’s iPhone was set with an alarm at 3:45 “GO GET STARBUCKS” …That’s okay, I reminded myself I am grateful for my job. Recently we just started labeling cups again (which I love) and I took the name for the last customer I served in the lobby and what was his name? Michael. I looked up and felt the quick sting of tears in my eyes and thought..Michael, how ironic. Immediately I was struck with his love for people, his selfless heart, his humble spirit. I told myself I would make it my goal to treat everyone else on that Thursday the way Michael (Mikey) always did. We had a continuous flow and had to tell people we were closing. We gave the 10 minute rule and served as many people as we could. Everyone was leaving and the cars stopped coming except for one last car. We had already locked the doors but I motioned for them to come through the drive-thru. Quickly forgetting my promise to myself I huffed thinking “my goodness there is a sign on the door!” We made the drink, took their money and when I handed out their drink I said “Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving” and they said “We will, thank you so much for taking our order. This is our first holidays without our sister and we just needed to get out of the house.”

You cannot tell me that is coincidence. Without giving them explanation or telling my co-workers what had just happened I teared up, waved them bye and closed the sliding window. “IS THAT REAL LIFE??” I thought to myself. I honestly couldn’t react because I didn’t know how. Michael showed up in spirit on Thanksgiving and reminded the world, at least my world, to be a humble spirit, love others as your own and be selfless.

Instead of gathering around the newspapers looking for the best deals or watching TV all day I was blessed with such a sweet experience. It’s amazing the things of life that you can realize in such a small coffee shop in such a short period of time. My heart drove home to mama, daddy and Garrett with a full, thankful heart and a humble spirit.

 

With all my love,

EKG

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