mr. black

He gives a gift to everyone who walks in the door. I am always a little groggy when I walk in. I have just dropped my oldest off to his early morning Saturday karate class. I walk down to Starbucks, and the moment alone combines with the fresh air and breathes life into me.

His shaggy hair matches his scruffy looking beard with their curls and hues of strawberry blonde. Everyone gets a smile and a cheerful voice, but nothing over-zealous. It is early on Saturday, after all and this is a gentle man. Intentional eye contact is made with each and every person. I watch as something invisible inside his soul seems to whisper to each of us, “You matter.”

I get the feeling he is doing more than just his job as he takes our orders and debit cards and gives us food and drink in return. He is caring for humanity. He sees the inherent value of people and shows it to us in the fifty-eight seconds we are in front of him. This is the gift he gives.

And it is one that we all are in desperate need of. Because it is so incredibly easy to forget that we matter. That although we are imperfect, we are also invaluable. Of course, not everyone receives this gift. Some are so busy with their lives and their selves and their keeping up that their spirits have grown numb to such offerings.

But he gives it anyway.

Today he was just taking his break when I found my place in line. We exchanged hellos and somehow some coffee spilled from the mug he was holding while we were chatting. I walked over to the condiment section, pulled out some napkins, knelt down and wiped up the liquid.

I should be doing that for you,” he said.

“You are on your break. I am happy to do something for you this time,” I reply.

He goes to the back for something and then disappears outside for his ten minutes to himself. As I order and get out my card to pay, the other barista tells me Mr. Black has already taken care of it.

I couldn’t find him outside to say thank you and he didn’t have to do that. Watching him do what he does touches my heart every Saturday. I see the gift he offers and gladly receive it each time. Maybe buying me coffee was his way of saying that today I got to be his Mr. Black.

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16 thoughts on “mr. black

  1. What a lovely post about humanity. Love love love your writing…:)

  2. hmmm…wonder who I can be Mr. Black for today?

  3. Kimberly says:

    I am so glad you wrote this, It is a good reminder to be Mr. Black, I am fortunate to see the Mr. Blacks and Ms. Blacks in my profession, A smile and a look in the eye is a gift that does not cost a thing, but yet it is priceless. I am glad you recognized him Becca. I love your writing keep doing it, I am addicted.
    Love you!

    • itsakoolife says:

      Thanks so much, Kim. Great to hear that you get to work with so many heros and that you see the value of what they offer. Thanks for the encouragement.
      Always love it!

  4. Simple, and beautiful. In any moment we can communicate compassion. It is worth doing.

  5. Max Abbacowe says:

    A friend of mine at Grace Cathedral is always saying that ministry is anything we do with love, including being kind to the people who serve us in stores & coffee shops. Sounds as if you and Mr. Black minister to one another.

  6. Dierdre says:

    My son. Aka Mr. Black finally shared this with me today. I read it and my eyes began to water by the end I was crying my eyes out. Thank you for writing something that describes him completely. I see this in him as well, but to hear/read it makes me speechless, so thank you.

    • Rebecca Koo says:

      What an honor to have you here! Thank you. I have three sons and to hear this about something I wrote about your son touches me and lets me know I have done well in seeing him and honoring him with my writing. You have a wonderful son with a beautiful soul and I am encouraged by him each time I see him. Thank you.

    • Nikki Black says:

      Mr. Black is my brother! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to show how he brightens your day 🙂 He’s great!

      • Rebecca Koo says:

        Like with your mom, I am so honored to have you here! You don’t need me to tell you the value of your brother, but thank you for sharing him!!! (I suppose he shares himself, but either way…) I am delighted that his own family is pleased with what I wrote and feels I actually captured a piece of him here. That is such a compliment!

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