The Espresso, The Server & The Incident

As usual I went to order my early morning espresso from one of those branded Coffee outlets in Koh Samui, Thailand. The establishment I went to was regular hangout joint. Most of the staff knew me there and liked me.

All except one bespectacled Thai lady.

This lady behind the counter never seemed to like me. While she would always smile at everyone else, when it came to serving me, there was always this frown or an unease by which she would respond to me. I always made it a point to smile or be polite — but the response she gave me was always negative. Had it been anyone else, I would have addressed the issue. However, with her I was careful not to upset her — simply because she was pregnant. And by pregnant — I mean REALLY pregnant. She was so pregnant, she even found it hard to walk. So keeping in mind how fragile she was — I just let the matter go.

A few days ago when I checked in once again to order my espresso, I noticed my grumpy bespectacled server wasn’t around. There was someone else there in place of her. After ordering my espresso— I enquired and found out that she had a successful delivery and now was at home resting.

I didn’t think much about her until the next coffee session came into play. And what do you know — my grumpy bespectacled server was back. This time she was much more slimmer and leaner.

We were alone in the Cafe shop and added to the fact there wasn’t any music or any noise in the establishment — this time I was able to focus on her a bit more.

I noticed there was something totally odd about her. Her face looked disturbed, her eyes looked swollen & sad, her movements were pretty mechanical and her energy just wasn’t there. In fact, she looked like she had been crying.

As usual I ordered my espresso
As usual, she was cold & indifferent to me.
And as usual her service sucked.

As she dumped my order on the counter with my receipt, I paid for the espresso. But then, as I was about to leave, a thought came to my mind.

I turned around and said “Excuse me.”
She looked at me.
And then I motioned to her with my hands to show ‘small’ and I asked her “How is your baby?”

She looked at me a bit surprised.
And then after a few seconds replied
‘Baby home. Baby…. okay’

There was a few seconds of silence.

I turned around.
I stopped.
Then I turned around again, I ook out some money from my wallet and told her, “This for baby.”

At first she said No, while her face became pink to bright red.
But I insisted.
She then took the money
And then she teared up and started to cry.

She joined her hands then repeatedly stated “Khob Kuhn Ka” (which means thank you in Thai) while bowing her head with her eyes filled with tears.

I joined my hands out of respect for her.
Gave her a respectful smile.
And then left.

As I hopped on my scooter ready to leave, through the glass walls, I saw that bespectacled Thai lady inside all alone, wiping her tears.

Since that day onwards, that bespectacled Thai lady and I have become good friends. And now when I order my espresso, the service is absolutely exceptional.

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Loy Machedo

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