I walked in on my first day of work. They had given me 20 minutes for lunch so I had to grab something quick. I was a bit frazzled when I was greeted by Curtis.
“Hello!” he shouted in his Caribbean accent. “What is your name?” He recognized that I was new.
“Oh Emilee, you have such a beautiful smile!” I was a little wary because I’d been told about people in New York who are nice because they are up to something. I had been avoiding people calling out to me on the street. But Curtis was different. He beamed at me.
“Selwin, come over here and meet my new friend, Emilee,” he called out. We’re friends already? That was quick.
Selwin came over to where Curtis stood behind the counter. He looked shocked. I wondered what was wrong.
“Oh my gosh, it is such a pleasure to meet you,” he said.
“It’s nice meeting you, too,” I replied.
“No, really, it’s so nice to meet you. You don’t get to meet someone with beautiful smile every day!’
By that point, my smile was getting tired. I had been smiling all morning, trying to make a good impression. But even though my cheeks were sore, I couldn’t stop.
Curtis showed me how to load my cafe card. After the machine ate my money, he wrote down my name on a paper plate and insisted I come back the next day. In the meantime, he gave me a veggie sandwich.
Since then, I go down there a few times a week, and Selwin and Curtis are always cheerful. They are genuinely nice people who made my hectic first day a little less stressful.
The food is good, too! They are accommodating to vegetarians like me. Their wraps not only have lettuce and tomato, but they have eggplant, asparagus, carrots and delicious dressings. Sometimes Curtis surprises me with dessert.
“We make these for Mrs. Murdoch,” he says, placing a cupcake-sized ice cream in front of me. “So I decided to get one for my friend Emilee.”