The other day I was at a Starbucks ordering their new Green Tea Lemonade when I noted that the man who had just ordered before me was staring at me. Whenever this happens I usually avoid making eye contact while at the same time observing the offending party to make sure they’re not crazed, armed or Brad Pitt (if they’re Brad Pitt I make eye contact but so far that’s never been the case). The man was probably in his forties, approximately a few inches taller than me and maybe 60 or so pounds heavier. He also had the look of someone who was a bit on the downtrodden side. He didn’t appear to be dangerous so I ignored him. When I went to the ‘drink pick-up’ spot he addressed me in Spanish which is a mistake because the only words I know in Spanish are “Hola and no hablo español.” Nonetheless I’m used to being mistaken as a Latina so I took his greeting in stride. When he realized that I was a gringa he apologized in broken English. He said that he was sorry for being so rude but he wanted to tell me that he thought I was beautiful. There was something about the way he said it that implied he wasn’t trying to pick me up. He was just paying me a compliment. I could have been cold or haughty about the whole thing but instead I smiled and thanked him. He got his drink and went to a table by the window and I got my tea and headed straight for the door. I was parked right out front and I could see him sitting at the bar, hunched over, looking kind of depressed. When he looked up I opened the door to my car, flashed him my brightest smile and held up my plastic cup as if to toast him. He got this kind of startled expression on his face and then his posture straightened and he just lit up. At that point I got in my car and drove off.
The Starbucks I was at is out of town and it’s doubtful I’ll ever go there again and even more doubtful that I’ll see that man again but I’m glad I met him. I wasn’t attracted to him but he did make me feel good about myself and I think I was able to do the same for him. The whole incident reminded me of how easy it is to brighten a person’s day.
Just thought I’d share.
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