Sipping a cup of mint majesty tea, I looked up briefly from my book, ‘After Alice’ by Gregory Maguire, as the door opened. A cutting wave of cold winter air rushed over those of us by the door, as a family of three entered. A bearded gentleman, with a slightly receding hairline, guided his daughter as she walked awkwardly and unsteadily in front of her mother. Something was different about the girl – some disability or affliction left her footing unsure, and her over-exuberant and loud talking bursts signified deeper issues. I gave a faint smile as they passed, then listened as the barista greeted them with exaggerated friendliness. I felt a little relieved. People can be dismissive and cruel to anyone different, even children.
The barista asked the girl if she liked stickers. She clung closer to her Dad, seemingly trying to disappear into the folds of his jacket. He said she did and though I wasn’t watching, I assume some stickers passed from the barista to the girl. They placed their order and moved down to the pick up area.
A row of four empty stools stood near them, and the girl patted the seat of one, saying, “For Mama!” Her mother gratefully took the seat, and her daughter joined her as they watched another barista make a grand production of their drinks. He indulged the girl and performed fanciful feats of dairy art, granting some extra whipped cream to her delight and her parents’ appreciation.
I hoped the rest of the world would be this kind to her always. Maybe we each have to do our best to make sure it is. Even though I know it won’t be, I want to believe we could each reach deep inside and conjure such care for those who need it.Back to Blog