Being a former barista and a current tea-drinker, I almost never stop for coffee while I’m out in the world. If I do, I’m kind of a snob about it. But the other evening I found myself at the intersection of Mendocino and Pacific in Santa Rosa, California, desperate for a pick-me-up and willing to settle for whatever I could get – and it looked as though that would be the Dutch Bros coffee kiosk.
I walked up to the service window where I was immediately and very peppily greeted by an absolutely adorable young barista. She was all smiles and jokes and, while a bit disarming for an older, socially-jaded gal like myself, I quickly settled into the fact that she was trying to engage me in an actual conversation while I waited for my coffee.
She started with “are you heading to the JC?” but before I could answer she leaned on her elbow, lowered her head and ducked it toward me and said “heh, I mean, you go to the high school there, good lookin’?” After a shocked pause I burst out laughing and she chuckled before turning to squeeze what I could only assume was liquid sugar into a measuring cup, and then dumping it into what I could only assume would be my coffee cup.
After admitting that I was heading to class at the JC, she asked me what I was taking, then told me that she was majoring in English and was hoping to one day be a teacher. She also plans to study all the psychology she possibly can to get a better understanding of what makes kids turn out one way or the other, because it’s something that fascinates her. I told her that I’d always loved the idea of offering free writing workshops to at-risk youth who might otherwise have no other outlet for the feelings and actions resulting from their daily lives. She enthusiastically nodded her head, then realized she’d forgotten to pull the espresso for my latte.
I was running out of time at this point and so recommended that she try to take a Child Development class from Nevin Valentine, which I’d taken years ago and was still impacted by – I thought it would be a good resource for her future teaching. Then I said I had to get going and bid her farewell.
As I walked away I thought “well she was just adorable – I’d totally go gay for that girl!”
I’d like to state here that I would not, in fact, ‘go gay’ for that young sweet girl, because I’m in a great hetero relationship already, and unfortunately am not attracted to women in enough of a way to make me switch teams. But I did find her jokey manner and open interest such a rare find in her generation, let alone in a three-minute exchange at a coffee kiosk.
Today, in an attempt to remember the name of this coffee place so that I could review their stellar customer service, I found them on Yelp. Turns out being Super Friendly and overly inquisitive is just kind of their ‘thing’, which means I’m nothing special. Dammit!
However, I guess where Dutch Bros wins here is that I never would have known that if I hadn’t looked at Yelp, which is something I almost never do anyway. I like my experience to be my own without being influenced by a bunch of yahoos out in the world that I don’t even know.
So if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, Dutch Bros definitely has you covered. And by ‘pick-me-up’ I’m talking in self-esteem and faith in humankind…not so much about the coffee.