Chapter 3. Barista Buddies
In the course of 7 years, I have had a handful of great co workers, with whom I have many stories. I have also had challenging co workers, as do all of us at times. (The boss' will get their own page, so I am not counting them in this "chapter") . Some of those barista buddies have stayed my friends, even though we parted ways. Others were clearly a barista buddy for the season only of sharing our barista days.
Joey and Daniel were the 2 silliest co-workers I ever had. Those 2 guys were a pair when they worked together. Nothing was dull. We were always busy, and they always worked hard and did an awesome job, but they always made shifts at Starbucks fun. They would do impressions of the customers that kept us laughing for the entire shift. Not a "make fun of " customer impression, but genuine impressions, with facial expression, verbiage and body language. We would all be rolling in laughter as we would guess who they were impersonating. These guys were 2 of the hardest workers, though, and you could always count on them to get it done.
Rachel and Travis were like siblings to me. Rachel met her now husband at Starbucks, and I was the matron of honor for her wedding. We shared a name, but we shared coffee passion and we shared work ethics and determination. Travis and I joked that we were brother and sister. Travis helped paint my entire house when we moved into it in 2011. He painted every baseboard and casing in the house. He was always there to help when needed. We were often called the 3 amigos. We called ourselves the 3 siblings. Travis actually was brave enough to stand as a brides man in Rachel's wedding as well.
Bekah. Bekah came to our store from a Chicago store, and I can't remember meeting her the first time, but she and I connected. Bekah worked extremely hard, but she was always singing a song. She'd make one up about everything and was known as the singing barista. Bekah did not enjoy coffee on a level like I do, but she did drink plenty of doppio con pana with caramel drizzle. More to come on Bekah in future posts, but Bekah is literally family now, as she married my brother.
Cassie. Cassie was a character. Tall and skinny and determined. One shift, I was working a close with Cassie and someone else (don't remember who) and it was insanely busy. In the midst of my ringing up a customer, Cassie literally passed out behind me. I'll never forget that moment. I battle anxiety and those who knew that thought I would freak out. But I remained calm and the situation was remedied eventually, but Cassie will always hold memories, as she was also one of the first Shift supervisors for me to train as that. She eventually took my place.
Savannah. Savannah was bold and silly and strong in character. She was bubbly and full of spitfire spirit. Savannah did not like being put down or disrespected. She was the barista who, if she did not like what a customer did to her or her coworker, she decided to give them decaf. She felt they needed to calm down, not have more espresso. I always would shake my head about that, but Savannah had her ways. She worked hard and stood up for herself and what she believed in. We bonded in some great ways.
And that brings me to my current barista buddy. Although she would really be more my cashier buddy. We call ourselves the Guckenheimer Girls. (If you don't know, Guckenheimer is the company I work for currently). Tiffany. Tiffany and I have become dear friends and I believe we will remain that, even in parting ways. Our boss likes to give nicknames from random stories or sometimes just because. She and I become Chicken Nacho and Black Bean Burrito. Don't ask why- we really are not sure. However, we embraced it and laughed about it. Tiffany and I work like clockwork. We don't have to speak to know who will move when or do what. We just do. She knows my moods and I hers, and we don't have to verbalize much to understand what the other needs. We have faced similar experiences, we have cried. We have laughed. I rarely laugh as hard with anyone like I do with my sister, but Tiffany and I do that. We say, in jest, that we were separated at birth. Tiffany deserves her own page and chapter because we have just had that much life together the last 3 years.
some of my tougher co workers from over the years will remain nameless, but I have learned from them to be more bold for myself- to not be "run over". I have learned from those experiences to choose my battles- sometimes a battle isn't worth it and it should just be let go. I have learned to verbalize my hurts and my frustrations at appropriate times and measures. From those tougher ones, I have grown into a person who has learned to rise above a situation. I have those tough co workers to thank for helping me become a bolder person in some aspects. I have certainly shed tears some moments from those interactions, but all in all, those interactions also help shape me. It has often come from one telling me I can't do something to helping push me to prove them wrong. (It's the stubborn side of me that doesn't come out too often). As tough as some of those co workers were, I am thankful to have had the experience.
Coffee has brought many people across my path, coworkers have a different experience/interaction than customers, but play a part in the journey of coffee being a love language.