The Coffee Shop was a small hidden gem in a big city filled with even bigger corporations. Everyone who went there was a regular, or became a regular. Even though the prices may have been more than what the food chains charge, they could never beat the feeling of home that The Coffee Shop provided. The air was always filled with pleasant good morning’s and hello’s. There was never a face without a smile.
Ronald owned one of those big corporations that could compete with The Coffee Shop. Even though his store was doing extremely well, it always bothered him that The Coffee Shop was full, and remained open. “This place doesn’t fit in here” was a constant thought in his head. One day he decided to pay a visit, to see what all the fuss was about.
When he opened the door, it was a whole new world to him. Everyone was welcome, even him. Everyone was smiling, even the employees. He couldn’t believe the sight laid before his eyes. Ronald walked up to the counter with a shocked glued to his mug.
“How long have you worked here?” he asked the barrista.
“15 years,” the older lady had happiness written on her face. “Can I get you something to drink?”
Ronald ignored her question, “How many unhappy customers have you had?”
Ronald stood there for a minute before saying anything further. He stook a step back and really looked hard at all of the people in the little shop. He finally ordered a black coffee and went and sat down.
He came back every day and asked the old lady the same question. Her answer was always none. Ronald sat and drank his black coffee every morning at the same time, and continued to watch the customers of the shop. Even when someone had received an order that was incorrect, they still came up to the counter contently, and politely asked for a new drink. On the 17th day of coming in the shop and ordering a black coffee, Ronald walked up to the old lady and asked her yet again how many unhappy customers the shop has had.
“One,” the old lady looked at Ronald’s face with a small frown, not because she was sad, but because she seemed to pity Ronald. “Is there anything I can do to bring some joy into your day?”
Ronald looked confused, until he realized that the unhappy customer was him. Ronald was in that shop looking for one person to be miserable, for one person to just yell because their drink wasn’t made right. This wasn’t that kind of place.
Ronald continued to go to The Coffee Shop every day and order a black coffee. Eventually when he came in the old lady had his coffee ready for him, sitting in a purple mug at his favourite seat. Ronald no longer asked the lady how many unhappy customers she had. He had become a part of the little shop, walking in and saying good morning to all the faces he recognized.
“It seems you’ve come to like this little shop. There’s no place that you’d rather be.” Margaret, which he learned was the old lady’s name, was always a warm and gentle face to see at such an early time in the morning.
Ronald looked at her, and a big grin crossed his face.