Abu Dhabi Musings: Coffee morning with the Barista
Initiating a conversation with someone new can be insightful and inspiring, finds Debbie Ganguli
LAST THURSDAY I walked in to a Dunkin Donuts outlet in Abu Dhabi at 7:30am seeking shelter for an hour before I could enter a nearby office I had work in. I ordered myself a cup of black coffee and a custard doughnut to while away the long wait. Since it was only Reggie, the Barista, and me at the shop at that time, it seemed kind of awkward to remain silent. So, I initiated the mandatory small talk to kill the silence in that small but really cosy DD outlet!
Interestingly, Reggie and I hit it off quite well - so much so that I even texted "good night, TTYL" to my fiancé (in the United States). In between doing his regular work and attending to the few incoming take-away customers, Reggie and I exchanged a lot of insights on each other. So, here is Reggie for you:
Reggie is a 20-something Filipino Barista at Dunkin Donuts who is in Abu Dhabi on a contract for a period of two years (as I inferred from our conversation). But he doesn't see himself being here for more than the stipulated time period. He says that he comes from a modest family and that Manila became too expensive for his family and they had to shift to a nearby town which is reasonably affordable. Currently, he is trying to save up and prepare for some exam which will allow him to return to the Philippines.
I asked him about the perks of working at DD and he confirmed with a chuckle that it was the daily allowance of coffee and a donut! But then again, he has the donuts only on the days he needs them, low days to release some happy hormones, or else he fears diabetes. I unabashedly confessed my addiction for sweets and how I cherished my daily dose of coffee and anything that looks like "you will regret this later"!
On his hobbies, Reggie said that whenever he gets time off from work, he loves to play the guitar. That's when I mentioned that he was quite the Reggie Mantle! Unfortunately he didn't get the Archie comics reference since he had been more of a Marvel comics reader during his childhood days. Can't blame the guy, Archie comics were more of a 'girly' thing back in the day. He asked me what genre of music I liked listening to and happily changed the track that was playing to my choice, Nickelback. We listened to Nickelback for a while before I had to eventually leave to get my work done. I bid farewell to the new friend I met that day and he humbly requested that I visit his store again some day. I wouldn't mind really, but that branch of DD is really far off from my place and I guess it was a one-off chance. A sweet one-off rendezvous.
Unfortunately I didn't get an opportunity to click a pic of Reggie since we were busy in our conversation, but I doubt I will forget his sincere smile and the dreams he happily shared with a stranger that day.
City Times reader Debbie Ganguly is a social media manager, public speaker and traveller who describes herself as 'super cheerful'.