Like an invading army each day 250,000 people converge on Grand Central Terminal in the center of New York City from various points all over the region and the world. Most are on a unique path to find their daily bread as usual.
Caryl, a 28-year-old, bachelorette who works as a paralegal for one of the many prestigious corporate law firms scattered around Mid-town Manhattan is running very late for work this morning. Her 7 o'clock train out of White Plains was delayed due to flooding along the Bronx River. She knows that Joel, her boss and a partner at the firm where she has worked for the last three years, accepts no excuses when it comes to tardiness.
The worst part was that she still needed to buy Joel’s coffee each morning, which she hated doing. What made it bearable was that the boss would always pay for her coffee as well. However, he insisted on it being Starbucks. If he didn’t see that little green mermaid on the cup, he was likely to throw a fit. Caryl thought it was because he loved Starbucks coffee. The truth is that Joel owned several hundred shares of stock in the company.
As the train pulled into the station on track 37, Caryl took off like a cat racing towards the Starbucks as soon as the doors opened. Unfortunately, as she entered the crowded concourse filled with hundreds of other commuters, she could see that the Starbucks was overflowing with a line of customers going out the door as far as the eye could see. Her heart began to pound. "Caryl, we have a problem," she thought to herself.
Caryl made the decision to accept that today’s coffee would just have to come from somewhere else as long as she wasn’t late. Being late was what she feared most. It was within the realm of possibility that she might even be fired if she showed up late enough and without the boss’ coffee.
Now in damage control mode, accepting that Starbucks was no longer an option, Caryl stopped by the best backup available in the majestic train station, which everyone knew was Joe’s the Art of Coffee. The problem was that Joe's had an even longer line than Starbucks. Next, she ran to Café Grumpy. Unbelievably at Café Grumpy, the line was yet even longer. Caryl was now desperate.
Out of nowhere a homeless man approached Caryl and pointed out to her that there was a new coffee shop that had just opened over by the Biltmore Room. The unfortunate vagrant told her that the coffee was excellent and that the line would be short since not too many people knew about it. Caryl reached into her purse and gave the disheveled man two worn one dollar bills. She then scrambled to find the new cafe as quickly as possible. She had less than fifteen minutes to spare.
Arriving at the Biltmore Room, there it was, and the best part was that there was practically no line to speak of. There was a small hand-carved wooden sign near the register, about the size of your average dinner plate. It spelled out the name of the new establishment “I AM COFFEE.”
Caryl ran up to the register and was immediately greeted by the youthful, tall 6’ 2” barista.
“Good morning Caryl. How may I help you?” The barista asked with the calmest most soothing voice Caryl had ever heard.
“Oh my God! How do you know my name?” Caryl asked the long-haired barista with a dumbfounded expression on her face.
“It’s because you’re wearing a necklace that says “Caryl.” I assumed that to be your name?” said the barista in the same calm voice as he smiled warmly at Caryl, his brown eyes locking in on her’s. As they both then laughed heartily for just an instant.
“My name is Yosoyel,” said the barista as he stroked his immaculately manicured goatee. “What would you like?”
“Well, I could use two cups of your best coffee and about 10 extra minutes. Oh, and while you're at it, can you put the coffee in Starbucks cups,” Caryl said jokingly while digging out money to pay as Yosoyel worked on preparing her order.
“No problem,” said Yosoyel “When we opened the other day we ran out, and I was able to convince the manager over at Starbucks to loan me a sleeve of cups. I helped him with a problem he was having, and he was very grateful. Such is life.”
Caryl looked down at the counter with her mouth ajar as Yosoyel placed the two Starbucks cups before her, green mermaids and all.. Without saying another word, Caryl smiled at Yosoyel, and he smiled warmly back at her as she paid with a ten dollar bill and insisted that he place her change in the tip box.
“Thank you, Caryl,” said Yosoyel. “Hope to see you again.”
Caryl nodded her head affirming that she would be back. Then she turned and checked the time on her phone. To her amazement, she was now thirty minutes early for work.
Side note: "Yo soy el" means I am him in Spanish.
Hi, I'm Lester Patterson,