Dear Starbucks Barista,

thank you for always being kind to me. 

Today, I was sitting in my local Starbucks waiting for a friend and listening to music. I ended up zoning out and staring at the people passing by. 

The area I live in is very family-friendly, so practically everyone that goes by is either holding their partner’s hand or running after their kids. 

I was listening to an acoustic song on repeat when I sensed someone was speaking to me. I paused my song and looked towards the Starbucks barista who was crouching down by my side. Her name is Shahrzad, I think. She’s this petite woman with delicate features, slim-framed glasses and golden brown hair that’s always tied in a low pony tail. We would usually have a small chat whilst my drink gets prepared and that would be it. But today, she had a concerned look on her face while she asked me if I’m ok. 

Am I ok? Was I sitting here for too long? Maybe I looked suspicious? I stared at her blankly. 

“Why are you upset? You’re usually smiling. Because I see you here a lot, I can tell. If someone you knew walked in and saw you, they could also tell you’re upset…”

The truth is, I wasn’t upset. In fact, I was stressed. I’m stressed to the point of numbness where my brain decides to process 0 thoughts. I wanted her to sit and let me pour myself out to her but I couldn’t even gather my words properly to answer her. 

It felt nice though. Slightly odd, but nice that someone who doesn’t know me well and only sees me at her workplace, actually acknowledged the difference in my mood. I’m known by most of the baristas there and usually try to stimulate a conversation whilst ordering but I don’t know why, I never assume they actually remember who I am. It made me feel at home. 

Next time you see someone who looks like they’re upset, ask them. You don’t have to know them, but sometimes, that person may be in need of a chat with a stranger. 

Lola x

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