It was a crazy nice day, actually the first one this year one could describe as a warm spring day. People were wearing short sleeves and smiles on their faces. I was in a coffee shop, working on a translation. It's funny, I think you should be able to work at home, especially when you have a job that allows you to, but it doesn't really work that way for me. Can't wait to be able to afford a place with a seperate room for a little office.
In the coffee shop I got a good seat on the second floor and it wasn't too crowded, most people were outside. Inside it was almost quiet, the speakers played Clueso, his later songs I like a lot. I was thinking about a tricky sentence when I noticed a little boy, maybe six years old, in a little blue sweater and little red pants, carrying a tray to the counter downstairs. He used both his hands and all his concentration, and still he was smiling, he seemed excited about the responsibility he was balancing.
He disappeared downstairs and came back all jumpy and giggly. A few moments later I saw him again, he was walking slowly and holding another tray, holding a coffee mug on a too little plate. He gave it everything, taking one step at a time, his eyes focused. I watched him go downstairs, and again, he came back laughing and running, looking left and right. When he passed my table, he gazed at my glass, which was still filled with coffee, then smiled at me, and walked on.
Two tables away he hesitated again. Two japanese women, who were talking really loudly about, I couldn't help but try to understand some of the words, food and time and something thirteen or a respectable person named Joo, were almost done with their coffee. The boy saw the empty glasses and stopped. He approached their table much like a cat would sneak up on a mouse. The women stopped talking and the boy was startled for a second. One of the women said something in German and the boy loosened up.
Both their beverage containers were empty, but one of the women had a half-eaten cookie, the other one, the one he was talking to, had an almost untouched brownie left. The kid asked them if they had finished eating, and if so, whether he could take their trays. The japanese woman misunderstood and offered him a bite of her chocolaty dessert. He wildly shook his head and then explained: "My daddy works here, and I help him with the trays. I bring him back the empty plates and cups!"
The woman smiled and gave him her tray with the empty glass. She told him he was a great help and that his father could be very proud of him. His little face lit up and he gave her the biggest smile. He thanked her for the tray, he almost shouted, and went off. The kid made me think about myself, was I ever that nice a kid? And it made me think about being a father, too. Someday I'm going to have kids myself, I hope. Will I be a good father? Teach my kids manners and patience, strength and politeness?
When I left the coffee shop, I saw to my surprise that the boy's father was not the shop owner, but one of the clerks. And I once more realized how amazing children are. For a son to admire his father, it doesn't matter what his status or how much the pay check is. People try so hard to make ends meet that they forget how kids don't think in terms like that. The boy didn't care if his father was waering a polo shirt instead of a uniform. He didn't care if he was carrying a coffee tray instead of a suitcase. He cared about his father.