The server bolts to the backroom as I enter; when I say “Hi!” her eyes roll. I’ve been abandoned mid-order, gossiped about, and rebuked in front of other customers. She’s been just plain nasty, rude, and intimidating. Still, I continue to patronize Peet’s Coffee in Redondo Beach. Why? In addition to their great coffee, I want to win her to Christ.
I’d also like to be featured as “Customer of the Week” in the little photo display on the counter.
The first time I met Briana (not her real name) was on the Friday before Easter; I wished her “Happy Good Friday!”
“Happy, uh, Good… Friday,” she replied haltingly.
“Do you know the meaning of Good Friday?” I asked.
“No… not really.”
“It’s the day that Jesus was crucified for our sins and died. Why do you think it was good?”
“I… uh… don’t know…”
I hadn’t given my order yet and there were no other customers in line, so I took advantage of the vacuum—by giving my 17 second sermon: “Well, if you’ve ever broken any of God’s 10 Commandments—if you’ve ever lied or stolen–then He will see you as a lying thief; and if you’re found guilty of one sin, then the penalty is eternity in Hell.”
Her eyes fixed on mine, she looked receptive, maybe even ready to bow the knee to her Creator right there next to the Sulawesi Dark blend.
I continued, “But Jesus died on a cross for all of us—and that was good. If you repent and turn your life over to God by believing in Jesus—
Her head twitched, eyes flamed, she started to shake… then she ran away stopping only to deliver a nasty whisper to a co-worker; she bolted into a backroom, never to be seen again.
The second time I met her was on Friday the 13th.
I had just given a fellow server a giant $100 bill Gospel tract and he thanked me, smiling.
When I offered one to Briana she was less than enthusiastic. “That’s extremely pretentious and rude!” she scolded, turning away. I glanced at her co-worker. “What’s up with that?”
“I don’t know,” he replied with a shrug. “I don’t want to get into it.”
Setting her face like flint Briana ignored me, slamming down her little espresso squeezer and, clinking cups in an aggravated way, made darn sure everyone at Peet’s knew she was perturbed—at me!
It sure is hot in here; funny how I didn’t notice it before.
Looking up at the ceiling, then at the menu on the wall, time dragged as I waited for my coffee.
Bam! Clink! Briana continued to ignore me with a deafening silence.
“I’m sorry if I offended you in some way,” I said lamely.
“I don’t like you giving those to my employees. It’s solicitation!”
I still go to Peet’s regularly; I’m used to the routine. I walk in. She walks out. Friendly greeting rebuffed. I don’t hand out tracts there that often; I just let my little light shine, shine, shine.
I also don’t share my faith there that much anymore.
Yes. I’m a little intimidated. But God can break through; He might even use me someday… but I’m not holding my breath.
The other day, Briana stormed out to her SUV and drove away for her lunch break. I noticed a few stickers on her vehicle that led me to believe that she would be a hard-sell. In addition to the obligatory KERRY/EDWARDS proclamation proudly displayed on her bumper since 2004, I also noticed these:
I LIKE YOUR CHRIST
I DO NOT LIKE YOUR CHRISTIANS
THEY ARE SO UNLIKE YOUR CHRIST
DOING MY PART TO P_SS OFF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
Customer of the Week? I can always dream.