It is my turn to order at the counter. The cashier turns to the back:
“Is his order ready?”
“No, I didn’t see him in the line. He’ll have to wait a few minutes.”
The cashier leaves the register to see to it personally. I have not yet said a word. She returns with a look of embarrassment;
“We’re usually looking out for you. She’s disappointed me this time.”
“That’s not a problem,” I attempt to pay.
She secretly gestures that my order is on the house. A few other customers notice and stifle their surprise.
My order is ready. She knows that I don’t want condiments; just napkins. I thank them for their kindness.
Nearby, a woman sitting with friends is trying to get my attention. I look up, and she hands me her mobile phone. She wants me to take a photo of her group of girlfriends. I oblige.
As I type this, the woman clearing the tables smiles as she wipes the one adjacent to me. She takes something to the bin, then passes by; pushing a chair at my table in with her hip.
Later, the cashier at the grocery store holds up the line while she discusses Ginger Nut cookies with me.