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I am a fan of coffee, not the plain black kind, but the sophisticated, you think your cool, kind of coffee. Amarillo may be a small town, but we have no shortage of coffee joints, in fact there are 17 different options within 5 minutes of my house. I spend my mornings at Starbucks, have meetings at Roasters (the local staple), and afternoons downtown at The Ground. Needless to say, I spend way too much time and money in coffee shops.

As a frequenter of these spots I am fascinated by their unique differences. Some are known for their consistent coffee, others their extra bold (some say burned) coffee, and even some as the worst coffee in town (Hastings’ Hardback Cafè). However, the biggest difference is the level of service. Before I even walk into Roasters they have recognized my car, started pulling my shots, and put my strawberry bagel in the toaster. When I stop in at The Ground (my favorite local shop)  not only do they know my name and drink, they know my life story, and ask about my kids. They make you feel like Michael Jackson in a toy store.

Earlier this year I made a dramatic change to my schedule and I started going into work inordinately early. I switched my morning spot to Starbucks because it was the only place in town that opened at 5:00am. After about a week you could script my visits to the tee. ‘Good Morning, what can I get for you?‘ I would then proceed to order my grande americano with room for cream. Unlike Roasters, I had about 5 minutes to get ready while they made my drink. After I got my computer out and booted up I would hear the barista yell, from 2 feet away, ‘I have a grande americano ready at the bar.‘ Keep in mind that I am 1 of about 4 customers that even show up before 7. Every week this became my challenge, how long will it take for them to learn my drink, possibly my name, and even potentially treat me like a real-life human being.  Needless to say I went in last week and the same manager took my order, and the same barista made my drink, and yelled the all too familiar phrase, ‘I have a grande americano ready at the bar.’

I sat back down at my computer and giggled a bit, it seemed ironic that you could spend every morning with someone, and not ever make a real connection. Maybe I am intimidating, or rude, or maybe I am just not a memorable person. As I sat back down to start journaling and praying for my week I was over whelmed with one problem. Not that these people didn’t know my name, my drink, or even my story, but that I didn’t know theirs. How selfish could I be, I wanted to have a pat on the back, feel special, and be served, but I was unwilling to invest back into these people who were just doing their job to serve me. How many baristas, waiters, grocery store clerks do I treat with this ungrateful attitude. I have always heard the saying ‘Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.’ The problem for me is that I tend to live in my own little bubble and not let people in. So today is the day, not only am I going to change up my coffee drink of choice, I am going to purpose to know my baristas name, know their favorite things, and use words to preach the gospel. We can’t wait around in hopes that someone might ask why you smile so much, or how you do it, or even why you are different. We have to be different, we have to live life outside the bubble, and hop into other people’s.

What are steps we can take to live life with people, rather than waiting on them?