I sit or stand at a round bar-style table by the front window in Smokey Row coffee shop. Unless I’m in deep-focus mode, with headsets on and intent on my work, I glance up and smile at everyone who walks in. I’ll step over and hold the door for moms with strollers and grandpas with walkers. I greet the other regulars and know the names of all the servers. Friends stop by because they know I work there.
I don’t work for Smokey Row, but I do work there.
I tell people I work there, then have to explain, “I do my own work there.”
You don’t have to work there to smile there.
Many tourists think I’m the official greeter, because I point them toward the menus or the restrooms, answer questions about the different coffees available (I’ve tasted them all), and direct other to the local bakeries or other destinations. Smokey Row has yet to offer me a stipend for my services, but they keep my cup full of the “Origin-flavor-of-the-day” and make me feel at home. I pass that feeling on.
People like—need—to be noticed. I like to notice people. And smile—people make me smile.
Aunt Bea had Mayberry. My place is Smokey Row in Pella, Iowa.