Cue dogs barking… “That’s enough!” from inside the house. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Light comes on, a suspicious face peers through the window near the door. My heart beats a little faster as I paste a smile on my face.
They shuffle outside, trying not to let the cat out as they walk onto their porch in their bare feet. They give me a quizzical look.
“Hi, my name is Zanetta. I’m with Kitty Town Coffee. You placed an order last night, I’m here to deliver it to you.”
I hand them the coffee, and then drive down their hidden driveway that took me 20 minutes of circling their block to find.
I have such a love-hate relationship with deliveries. We do them because, if you live pretty close to our roastery, where we live, or where my husband works, it saves us a couple of bucks. But more than that, we are trying to maintain a more human element to our business. But man, those encounters stress me out.
There is another side to it. I’ve made friends doing this. I’ve driven up to people’s houses in the suburbs, had them invite me into their home for a glass of water and tell me about their story. They show me pictures of their cats, and tell me about the time they traveled to Costa Rica and had “that coffee in the sock”. They ask me how to clean their french press and why the cold brew they made last summer was weak (hint: usually it’s because they tried to make it in the fridge).
I don’t know if I’m getting a high monetary return on investment, but to me there is nothing more special in the world than having that human connection. And while I’m still small, I want to get to know as many of the beautiful people who order my coffee as I possibly can. The ones who want to anyway, I get why you might be a little suspicious if you live in the middle of nowhere and some chick in a blue car is driving down your gravel driveway.
When I get to make these connections with people, I am always reminded about how many people feel like they aren’t seen. Sometimes showing up at someones doorstep with coffee, a smile, and a picture of a cat can really make someone feel like they matter.
Even though it’s hard, and sometimes I get the hairy eyeball, and occasionally I’m pretty sure I’m going to get shot, being able to make someone’s day with that little personal touch is always worth that temporary personal discomfort.
Try this out, I promise it’s rewarding. No, I don’t recommend knocking on doors to give strangers coffee if you don’t have a reason to be there. But find ways to go out of your way to connect with people. Strike up a conversation with the person in line behind you at the grocery store. Smile at someone. Compliment someone’s dress. A small act can make a big difference.