Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coffee, conflict and coaching - any place any time!

There I was minding my own business in the Etihad Stadium coffee queue. Don't know if Monday night football will ever be institutionalised but over 42,000 people decided to give it a try. The queue was quite long but my mum is worth it so there I waited towards the latter stages of half time (defeat almost a certainty by then which was something I was not at all used to). The young barista behind the counter was not coping with the demand - that much was obvious. What appeared to make it worse was the huffing, puffing, eye rolling and tsk'ing going on from several queue members. I guess they figured as I did that once they had paid for their coffee (equivalent to a sizeable down payment on an apartment) they might as well stay and get the thing!

I'll be honest and say that while I was not eye rolling and tsk'ing, I was wondering why they put a seemingly inexperienced barista in front of one small espresso machine with a 20 minute half time window of aromatic opportunity for up to 42,000 coffees.

Just when the gentleman next to me seemed ready to erupt, the next in line for coffee customer - a warm, gracious, emotionally intelligent woman, entered into conversation with our novice barista, showed empathy for the hapless woman's busy night, commiserated with her about the slowness of the machine to steam, took her coffee with thanks, sipped it and informed all within earshot (including barista who was near meltdown by then) that her drink was delicious. The barista beamed and palpably relaxed. Her supervisor gave her a reassuring look and smiled gratefully at the customer and on departure, the gorgeous customer stared intently at Mr Eye Roll as if to say: "Weren't you young and inexperienced once upon a time - have a heart!"

They say, charity begins at home (something I remind my kids of often when it comes to chores!).
Peace building begins with us. Right here, right now.