This I Believe

Sam - Douglas, Massachusetts
Entered on June 19, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I believe. Not one of those guys bought

their own coffee.

I follow the same routine every morning. I stop at my local dunkin donuts on my way to work. The woman at the counter knows the way I take my coffee and has it ready for me when I reach the front of the line. She greets me by name, hands me my Java and off I go. On a given day I stand in line observe the people in front of me. There are two young guys wearing tool belts, two women, one in business attire the other in the recognizable blue nurse’s uniform, Men and Woman with their kids on there way to school, and every other type of citizen you can think of carrying out the same routine as happens every day all over our country. I recognize many of the faces I see in line. We show up here the same time every day. We greet each other and say good morning and make small talk about the weather. I don’t’ know anything about the people I stand in line with. I don’t know if there republican or democrat. Liberal or conservative. I don’t know whether they own or rent where they live or if they work for themselves or for a large corporation. I don’t even know their names. Yet, just form standing in line I see allot.

I can tell you that they all work long hours, day in and day out no matter the weather. I’ve stood in that line on my day off and on holiday’s and seen the same

people in there work clothes getting there morning coffee. I can tell by the conversations they have in line with there cousins, grandparents, friends and co-workers that most of them have grown up in this community. I know that if the chance comes up for them to help some one else they will jump at it. Like the time the car outside needed a jump and the guy in line offered his jumper cables or the time a woman’s car was stuck in the snow in the parking lot and a couple of guys left the line to go push her out. I don’t know how many times I saw someone make up the change needed for the person in front of them at the counter who was short a quarter for their coffee and donuts.

On one particular morning in 2002, a group of men wearing army fatigues and combat boots took there place in line. Someone asked if they were shipping out. The middle aged soldier said they were a reserve unit preparing that day to be deployed to Iraq. The line got quiet for about a minute and then a man walked to the back of the line and started shaking hands with the soldiers and saying thank you to each one. That started a chain reaction and the dozen or so people in line started shaking the soldiers hands and saying thank you. One white haired lady

gave a hug to one of the young men in the group. None of this took long but after it was all done, the line got quiet.

I’m sure this group of people was a mix of differing views on the politics of this war, and probably many other things. But when you’re so close to the everyday ritual of life politics doesn’t seem to play much of a role. I’m sure I saw the clerk at the counter do it, although I’m not one hundred percent sure.

But this I believe. On that particular morning not one of those guys heading for Iraq bought there own coffee.