The change was drastic, no one in the store including the staff could believe was happening. The customers feared the worse. The problem had occurred less than a day ago. And it would end with policemen coming through the store’s doors. Arizona is a place known for its heat. Now imagine a heatwave sweeping through the state. This means that areas that were normally quite hot were saunas.
Andy Greener was happy that he worked in a place with air conditioning. It also meant that hopefully, people would come inside to seek shelter from the heat and give him a tip while they were there. He needed the money for college. With the heatwave in full swing, Andy lost count of the iced lattes and smoothies he had made for flustered customers.
He could smell his sticky apron, which was flavored with a combination of coffee and fruit, before his shift was even halfway done. It was difficult to keep up with the expectations of the consumers and the never-ending line of individuals. He did, however, notice an older woman. People in his immediate vicinity avoided eye contact with him and covered their noses, as though he had a horrible odor.
His clothes were filthy, and it appeared that his skin was as well. When they saw and smelled the man, other patrons departed the institution. n Walk inside the room. He had a particular air about him that made me feel uneasy. With a scowl on his face, he joined the line. But it wasn’t just the customers who appeared to be disturbed by the sight.
The manager was a 17-year-old girl that didn’t look ready to handle her first real problem. She gasped as the man got to the counter and they started the exchange. The man looked Andy straight in the eyes before grinning and saying, “three iced mochas and one mango juice, please.”
Andy couldn’t believe the manager’s frightened expression. He knew it was ridiculous, his money may have been crumpled up, but it was still money at the end of the day. The manager rushed the order into a bag and pushed it across the counter. Being obvious that she wanted him to leave as soon as he could.
“We’re really busy today and don’t have free seats. You’ll have to take these and go,” Andy couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He countered her statement with, “It’s fine. There are lots of seats. You’re more than welcome to stay, sir.”The man flat-out ignored the manager and said “thanks, kid. I’ll be on my way. See you around.” He winked as he said it.
Andy tried to persuade the man, but he simply grinned and went out the door. Andy, on the other hand, had no idea that he’d be back with friends shortly. However, when the individual walked through the doors that Wednesday afternoon, it was as if he was a completely new person!
The transformation was so stark that the assistant manager didn’t connect the dots – even as she took his order with a bright, welcoming smile. The guy stood in his police uniform with the rest of his cop friends. He looked right at Andy.“Thanks for your help yesterday,” he said.
“We were dying doing renovations in that heat.” It all finally made sense – at least to Andy. The poor assistant manager, however, dug herself into an even deeper hole when she put together the exact same order he had made the previous day … and still not putting two and two together. It turned out the group cops had banded together to help one of their own do some much-needed home repairs and yard work. And in the hot Arizona sun, the dirt, drywall dust didn’t matter if the guys were in uniform or in overalls.
Even in these trying circumstances, a customer was still a customer, and everyone deserved to be treated with respect and decency. Andy, on the other hand, observed that the man had given him far too much money for the order and attempted to return it. Alcohol and sweat were a strong combination that had upset a lot of people’s noses. Andy was certain about one thing, though. “Kid, keep it up.” Andy couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
It was a hundred-dollar tip! Even the assistant manager’s eyes turned wide, and she tried to explain that all tips were pooled. The officer answered, “Nope, this is just for him for being so kind. Why would I tip you when you kicked me out yesterday?” The penny finally dropped. The girl turned red from head to toe, and Andy held back a laugh.
The officer added, “The drinks were great, so my buddies and I decided to make this a regular stop.” Andy shook his hand thanked him again put the large tip in his pocket with a huge smile.