Not your average Joe's or cup of Joe?
So "Latte" me explain…...
I went to Starbucks last week to get a cup of coffee, It wasn't my normal location. I was a stranger at this location and apparently I wasn't the only one. As I approached I saw a homeless man standing by the tables away from the door. I watched for about five minutes before I got out of the car and I noticed that he wasn't bothering the customers coming in or out. In fact, a few people approached him seemingly out of concern for his well being. When I went inside I flashed him a smile and I got one in return.
When it was my turn to order I asked the Barista about the homeless man outside. She rolled her eyes took a deep breath in and as she let it out she looked annoyed. In a frustrated tone she said "He's been there since I came in at 4 a.m. this morning. Don't worry I called the police and he will be removed shortly." I was taken aback and let her know that the reason I was asking was because I wanted to buy him a sandwich. Her response in the same annoyed tone, "Please don't do that. It will only encourage him to come back." I was at a loss for words and I stepped away from the counter, my blood boiling.
I asked the person I was with if the comment was heartless or if I was being too emotional. I was told I wasn't, so I asked to speak with the manager. When she came over I was surprised to see that the person who made the comment was actually the manager. When she asked what she could help me with I told her that her comment bothered me a lot. Her reply was as nonchalant as they come, "I'm sorry. I'm just telling it like it is." I told her that might be what she believes, but it was still surprising to hear something like that from someone who works for such a philanthropic company.
A gentleman came up to me and asked me what happened, so I shared the story with him. The man told me not to be upset because while I was talking to the manager other people had brought the man food and supplies. He, too, was surprised to hear what she'd said, and he shared a story about his wife. a number of years back she had been down on her luck and had been homeless herself. He said that we can't ignore people in need, and that we need to help them rather than walk away.
There was such empathy in his eyes and his voice and as we walked out he asked the man if he could use $10. The man seemed surprised by this gesture and he smiled and said "Thanks man!" I told the stranger that he was a wonderful man, and he told me that we should all be kind to mankind.
As I sit here and reflect on the story, I'm curious to know what you would have done. I recognize that the manager has an obligation to protect their employees and customers, but does it need to be done by dehumanizing a person in need? Please let me know your thoughts.