Life happens at the Coffee Shop


The kid was a 20-something surfer dude with flip-flops and tank top. In South Florida he’s a pretty common sight. He was tan and fit and thoroughly enjoying his Sunday morning coffee with his companion. And he was obviously deeply head-over-heels for his coffee buddy. The Kid’s face lit up at every word. We watched them for maybe twenty minutes while we sipped our pre-church Starbucks at City Place.

What made this kid engrossing was his companion: a very elderly, very small grampa in a wheel chair. Grampa had bright yellow fuzzy socks on, with the side that should have been to the floor on the top of his foot. He had a lap robe, and a fun red baseball cap. The Kid wheeled Grampa in through the door of this very busy Starbucks and helped him get the coffee he wanted. Getting back out through the door was trickier, carrying coffee, but David and I helped hold the door and listened t0 The Kid.

“Let’s sit outside, today, ok? It’s awesome out.”

Grampa didn’t speak much, so outside they went. The Kid found them a table and began a running patter with Grampa. Now I’m pretty much an expert at playing word charades in order to understand an older person, so I watched The Kid try to understand what Grampa was saying.

“You have your drink. Oh, something to eat? Is that it? OK! What do you want?”

Grampa tried, using his hands. He seemed Italian: they talk with their hands.

“Is it hard, Gramps? Is it sweet? OK, sweet, then, not salty. Is it cake? Does it have icing?”

I looked away for a few moments, and when I tuned back in The Kid was wheeling Gramps back through the door to go buy the treat. Minutes later they came struggling back out through the door again and Gramps happily had a biscotti in his hand. I could have predicted that. The Kid settled them back at their same table and began to look over their biscotti.

“Let’s see, Gramps, what have we got here? Oh, 170 calories. Not bad. Hmmm…no protein, but we’re not working out right now…”

And so it went, this constant patter. Through it all, The Kid’s attention never left Grampa. He was completely, one hundred percent in the moment on this beautiful Sunday morning. David initially wondered if he was being paid to be a companion to the elderly man, but you can’t buy that kind of focus and love. Literally The Kid’s eyes twinkled when he looked at Gramps. None of us existed for those two.

It touched me, this moment of unbelievable companionship. It had depth and reality. It was as true a sermon as the one I was getting ready to go hear. And I may remember it longer (No offense, John Poitevent…it was a great sermon at Ascent CityPlace!).

What a gift, being totally in the moment with another person.

Just for fun, read this post from Coffee Shop Journal about our City Place campus.

By Marla Saunders

I am passionately devoted to living my life in the places God has given me. Over the years those places have changed: from homeschooler to businesswoman, from consumer to storyteller. These days I’m focusing on building a new business and figuring out what it means to do everything with integrity and informed by faith.