Would You Have Handled It Differently?

Dorice Horenstein Blog -Would You Have Handle It Differently

She was shaking. Her hands were trembling and her face was showing sighs of anguish.

That was the barista who served my coffee today.

I scheduled to meet a client who just returned from Nicaragua to hear about her experience and plan our next coaching session for her and her partner, and we were the next in line. It was taking a long time and I began making judgments about the service…

 As we approached I noticed the barista’s body shaking. 

 She apologized for not being well. I wanted to kick myself for judging …

I told her that everything is OK and encouraged her to take a breath. I told her we were just fine waiting and there was no rush. She thanked me. 

 To lighten the situation I asked her to suggest the best coffee they serve. “The peanut butter mocha,” came the quick reply. 

 “I trust you completely! let’s do it. You are the expert” I exclaimed.

 She sheepishly smiled and began making my coffee. When she saw I was looking at her shaking hands, she said “I’m so sorry that I’m shaking.” 

 I asked what I can do to help. And she replied “I am getting clean and this is the alcohol affect.” The withdrawal symptoms. 

 At this point I leaned over the counter and put my hand on her hand. I looked her straight in the eyes. “You are so courageous. You’re doing something so difficult. Keep on doing that which will help you later on in life.” 

 “I’ve been addicted for eight years,” she said as she kept on apologizing. 

  “You have nothing to apologize for.” 

 Her voice was shaking her hands trembling. She couldn’t put the cap on the 12 ounce latte. I hope I helped her because I said that there is no reason to put it on as I will be drinking it shortly. She thanked me again. 

 “Your eyes are so beautiful,” I complimented her, and that was when she said “I now live in a home because I stopped using cocaine.”

 I told her I was so proud of her and tipped her 25%.

Sometimes we just need human connection. A touch of a hand. A word of encouragement. A smile in the face of pain. Not judgment. 

You never know what other peoples’ journeys are like.

 Be kind, be empathetic. Do not judge that which you don’t know…(Note to self!)

 Often I look into the wisdom of my tradition to gain insight. No surprise there- I found a gem I am glad to share. “If your bother becomes improvised and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him.” (Leviticus 25:35)

Many commentators have dissect this verse. One of them, Rashi, says that when you see someone who is weak, don’t wait for them to completely fall apart but support and strengthen them.

 My client said maybe that’s why we ended up in this coffee place- to provide that smile, that encouragement to a person that needed it the most. That strengthening, and lifting up. 

And Perhaps it was a lesson for me as well– the danger of judgment. That Judge Saboteur shows its ugly face more often than we think or want.

On my way home I called my daughter, the nurse in the family! She said it’s very dangerous to experience such a severe alcohol withdrawal, and that the barista should check herself into the hospital and get medication to help her through this phase.

 I called the coffee house. When the barista picked up the phone, I recognized her voice. She was not expecting my call. When I related my daughter’s message , she said she will go to the hospital.

 Wow! What a morning!?!


When have you strengthened another human being? 

When were you in a position to give a helping hand, an encouraging gesture?

When did you find yourself in a place of judgment to realize that your judgment was not warranted? And what did you do to shift yourself? 

What new awareness have you gained doing so?

 As always,

Be Yourself, Be Positive, Be the Champion you want to see!