Random Cafe Encounters: A White Beard and a Belly Does Not Necessarily Mean Santa Claus

‘What the hell kinda place is this?’ he says to me. 

He had walked in, slowly, deliberately, clutching a ten dollar bill. Walked from the front door up to the counter, a man who I would have described as jolly, except he was anything but. In sympathies anyway. In looks he could work at a mall all through the Christmas season, his white beard framing a round face, a belly that would have filled out any extra-large red suit. 

But he walks up to the counter, and very softly tells me, doesn’t ask, but tells me, ‘I want a large latte, triple shot, half vanilla and half sugar-free coconut.’ Now, we’re mild snobs at the cafe I work at. Lattes are only served in one size, flavors are limited, and we certainly don’t carry any sugar-frees. So I tell him that I’m sorry, we don’t have any sugar-free coconut. 

To which he replies with the line that opens this post, ‘What the hell kinda place is this?’ 

‘I’m… sorry? Sir. I can’t tell if you’re joking or not.’ I was definitely hoping he was joking at this point. Waiting for a jolly laugh to come booming out. Instead though, he turned around, muttering about the quality of the place. In my mind I have him calling it a ‘two-bit establishment,’ but I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually say that. 

He did leave though. Turned and walked out, due to a lack of sugar-free coconut flavoring. ‘There’ll be a Starbuck’s just down the street and on the left sir!’ 


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