When my sister was visiting from Seattle a couple of weeks ago she kept saying, “the people here are so nice. It makes me nervous.” It’s true. Greenville, South Carolina has some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. When I first moved to town four years ago from Fort Myers, Florida the contrast was startling. I would go to Starbucks for coffee and leave with two new friends.
This morning I walked my blind min pin up to my neighborhood Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte. It’s the perfect day for one. I’m sure a lot of dog owners would simply tie their pet up to a chair on the patio and run inside to get their drink. I don’t do that anymore. You see, my dog has crazy separation anxiety. If I leave him outside to quickly run in and get a drink he’ll cry as if someone is pulling out his fingernails. Everyone inside the coffee shop will start whispering, “who’s dog is that? Is he ok?” Sometimes I announce, “he’s mine. He’s ok, he just has separation anxiety.” Sometimes I just ignore him and pray for a fast barista and no small talk.
But now that he’s almost completely blind I don’t feel right leaving him alone. I imagine that would be pretty scary for him. So today I asked a lady going inside if she would get my drink for me. “My dog is blind and he gets scared when I leave him,” I explained. I’m sure in many towns, in many states that wouldn’t have garnered much sympathy. Not here. The lady gladly took my $20 bill and headed inside with my order: a tall pumpkin spice.
So as I sat outside it struck me: I just gave a stranger a $20 bill and nothing in me is worried that she won’t bring back my change along with a nice, hot drink. It also struck me that that probably isn’t normal in most places. So a few minutes passed and Amanda (her name was written on my coffee cup) returned with a VENTI pumpkin spice. “Oh you got me the big one!” I said. Amanda explained, “I ordered a tall and this is what they gave me.” See– just another reason why Greenville, South Carolina is such a beautiful place.