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Man standing in line at a busy coffee shop | Source: Shutterstock
Man standing in line at a busy coffee shop | Source: Shutterstock

Cafe Manager Insults Teen Employee, Unaware Her Father Is Standing in Line – Story of the Day

Roshanak Hannani
Jun 27, 2024
08:19 A.M.

Lily took a summer job to pay for her art supplies but had no idea her manager would go crazy on her first day working the register. Things only worsened when her estranged father stepped out of the line to defend her. But his reappearance wasn't welcomed, and it upended her life.

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Lily arrived at the café, her excitement palpable, because this summer job wasn't just a job; it was the key to funding her art supplies. With dreams of vibrant paintings, she eagerly started her first day, absorbing guidance from Kyle, her colleague.

"You'll handle orders; I'll do the coffee, and you work the register. And we're swamped in the mornings, so stay sharp," he instructed. "We were supposed to have someone else on this shift, but the manager, Mr. Reynolds, is insane. A word of advice: stay clear from him as much you can."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Lily nodded seriously.

No sooner had the "OPEN" sign flipped than a rush of customers tested her resolve. She navigated the flurry of orders as best she could until Mr. Reynolds's sharp voice stopped her cold.

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"Congratulations, new girl," Mr. Reynolds said. "You've just managed to get fired on your first day."

"What? But why, Mr. Reynolds? Did I make a mistake?" Lily asked.

"Yeah, you came to work looking like a clown." He gestured at Lily's bright blue hair. "So get back into your clown car and get out of here."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Lily ran her fingers through her hair, which she'd dyed that weekend. "But there's nothing in the dress code about hair color...I checked, sir."

Mr. Reynolds sneered. "I should've known better than to hire some snotty teenager. You have no understanding of how to present a professional image. There's no place for someone like you in my coffee shop. Now get out!"

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Lily stared at Mr. Reynolds in shock. All her dreams of buying high-quality oil paints died as she faced being jobless once again.

"Hey! You can't speak to my daughter like that!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Anger and embarrassment coursed through Lily's veins as she recognized the voice calling out to her. She spun and saw the person she hated most in the world stepping out of his place near the front of the queue: her father, Damian.

"I'll talk to my employees, make that former employee, however I like!" Mr. Reynolds yelled back. "If you don't like it, take her back to the circus and don't return."

Lily looked at the floor in shame as her father, Damian, got close to the register, wanting to keep fighting with her manager.

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Torn between a manager who underestimated her and a father she couldn't forgive, Lily made a swift decision. "Fine! I'm leaving!" she declared, casting a regretful look at Kyle before exiting through the back.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Lily, wait!" her father called out. "I have so much to explain about the day I left!"

"I don't want to hear it!" Lily shot back, quickening her pace.

He grabbed her arm. "Just ten minutes... Please, I had no choice but to leave, but I'm here now, wanting to make things right," he pleaded.

Lily shrugged off his hand. "Just forget about me. I've managed to forget you," she retorted, pushing through the crowd to the subway, where she finally allowed herself to cry.

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Reflecting on the aftermath of her father's departure, Lily remembered the hardships: the financial strain, the shift in responsibilities, and the silence from a man she once adored. His abandonment had reshaped her life, forcing her and her mother, Alison, to adapt to new realities.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

***

Once at home, Lily sought refuge in painting, though her supplies were nearly spent. Her attempt at art felt chaotic, a mess of colors and emotions on canvas.

"It's beautiful," Alison's voice broke through, surprising her. They shared a rare moment of closeness, but Lily couldn't bring herself to burden her mother with the day's events, especially not after noticing her exhaustion.

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Instead, she took charge, insisting on cooking dinner so Alison could rest. The simple gesture of making frozen ravioli was her way of caring.

Unfortunately, Alison's inquiry at dinner about the café job forced Lily to reveal her firing and why. Her mother's disbelief and support highlighted the absurdity of the situation, echoing the unfairness Lily felt but couldn't articulate.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"It was baffling," Lily agreed. "Anyway, I'll search for another job tomorrow."

"Rightly so," her mom encouraged. "Don't let setbacks dim your outlook. Keep your eyes on the bright future ahead of you, and you'll always find a way through any hardships."

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Lily appreciated her mother's optimism but found it challenging to stay hopeful as job rejections piled up over the weeks. Her depleted art supplies further mirrored her dwindling spirits, yet she couldn't deny the creative surge her emotions fueled.

Turning to social media for solace and a bit of support, Lily shared her artwork online, not expecting much. To her surprise, some followers chipped in with some money, though the contributions were modest. Determined, she also offered her skills for digital art commissions.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Then, an unexpected gift arrived: a set of high-quality oil paints and canvases, anonymously sent. Puzzled yet thrilled, Lily speculated it was from an online supporter called 'artlover' after a comment they left, hoping she liked them.

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She shared her gratitude in a live social media session, momentarily setting aside her job search to dive into painting.

The next day brought another surprise—a pamphlet for an art competition, igniting Lily's ambition but also her anxiety over the sender's identity.

Her concerns deepened upon realizing the sender knew her home address due to the lack of shipping postage or shipping labels. After checking, Lily knew it had to be 'artlover' again because he sent her a link to the competition. And it would only get worse.

***

"Okay, it's creepy, but it's not something we can the police about," Alison concluded after reviewing 'artlover's profile.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Despite Lily's apprehensions about the mysterious gifts and the sender, Alison encouraged her to participate in the exhibition. "We'll take precautions," she assured. "You can't miss this opportunity because of this random fan."

While hesitant, Lily recognized the value in her mother's advice and prepared for the exhibition, dedicating herself to her art completely.

***

Days later, they set up her paintings at the gallery, and Alison's protective stance bolstered Lily's courage. The room soon buzzed with visitors, and she tentatively engaged with the crowd, her eyes watching intently for 'artlover.'

Her work received mixed reviews, but a conversation caught her attention—a debate over her paintings' merit.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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A woman, Miriam, passionately defended Lily's work, highlighting its emotional depth and potential. To Lily's surprise, Miriam approached her later, introducing herself as a teacher from a prestigious art school Lily had long admired.

The conversation quickly turned to Lily's future and potential in art, an encounter that left her both shocked and elated, especially when Miriam purchased one of her paintings for a generous amount.

The unexpected sale and Miriam's encouragement were high points for Lily and her mother—until her father appeared again.

"I see you've put my gift to excellent use. I'm so glad you took my suggestion to enter the competition, Lily," Damian said, and they turned to see him smiling.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"Damian!" Alison uttered, shocked. "What are you doing here?"

Lily had to confess at last about the café encounter. "Mom," the teenager shook her head. "He came to my job and yelled when my manager fired me. I didn't want to worry you, not when you're always tired from working two jobs."

Before her mother could say anything, Damian interrupted them, a puzzled look in his eyes. "Ally, you're working two jobs?" he asked. "Where's the money I've been sending?"

"It's all in her college fund," Alison confessed. "I didn't want to use it, so I just saved it for her future."

"What? He was sending you money? Why didn't you use it, Mom?" Lily's voice cracked.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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Alison's admission that she saved the money for Lily's future, despite their financial struggles, only amplified Lily's anger towards Damian.

"You see the pain you caused!" she accused him, her heart aching at the thought of her mother's sacrifice.

Damian's plea for understanding fell on deaf ears as he tried to justify his actions. "I had to leave—to protect you both!" he insisted, but Alison and Lily were unconvinced. The argument escalated, drawing unwanted attention in the gallery, so he pulled them away from the busy gallery.

Outside, away from prying eyes, he revealed the shocking truth: he had been placed in witness protection after uncovering a money-laundering scheme at his job. Lily started laughing from the shock.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"Lily, I'm serious," her dad continued while Alison nodded. "I was working accounting for several funeral homes when I discovered something wrong in the numbers of a particular one."

"Seriously," Lily drawled in disbelief.

Her mother chimed in. "It's the truth."

"You could've told me," Lily argued, reeling from the years of hurt and misunderstanding between them.

The conversation shifted as Damian shared the news of his freedom as the culprits behind the scheme were now behind bars. The revelation of the untouched college fund and Damian's sudden return offered a glimmer of hope amidst the turmoil in Lily's heart.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"You can go to that art school," Damian smiled. "The one the lady mentioned. Or take a trip, too. Artists need to see the world."

"Wait, wait. We're getting ahead of ourselves," Alison shook her head at that suggestion. "She's going to college and art school before any trip."

Lily laughed, a wholesome sound.

"OK, Ally," Damian acquiesced. "Let's go back inside and see how many paintings our little artist sells?"

"That sounds like a plan," her mother nodded.

The gallery event was a success for Lily, even though she didn't win the big prize and mentorship. But knowing her parents had saved money for her future, she felt content.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"I don't need comforting, guys. You already secured my future. Someone else needed this grant more than me," she said when her parents tried to cheer her up.

"You are so wise," her father marveled, grinning.

After the gallery event, Damian had dinner with Lily and Alison almost every night, but he never stayed the night. No one was ready for that step yet, and Lily didn't know if her parents would ever get back together.

***

"I have another way of raising some extra money for my supplies," Lily announced one evening. "I posted a bunch of photos from the gallery and got more followers. More people are visiting my commission's link, and I've already got two orders."

"That's amazing, sweetheart," Alison said, clearly surprised. "I had no idea people could still make money from art."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"You're not wrong, Mom," Lily agreed. "It's hard for everyone. That's why I think going to college and art school is better. I'll have more options."

She grinned at her father, "I was thinking about studying business or… accounting."

"God, you're smarter than I was," Damian chuckled. "In college, I was an undeclared major for so long."

"That's right," Alison added, sharing stories from their past, which made the evening feel warmer.

After Damian left that night, Lily started a new painting, channeling her emotions into art. By 4 a.m., she had created something she considered her best work yet and shared it online before finally going to sleep with a smile.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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***

Days later, a message pinged on Lily's phone, inquiring about purchasing her latest artwork. After a brief hesitation, she decided to sell it for $600, arranging to meet the buyer at her former workplace, the café, the following day.

"That's fantastic. I have an interview a few blocks away. I could meet you for coffee afterward in case the buyer is late or something," Damian suggested when Lily told her parents about the sale.

"Great idea, Dad," she responded, her spirits high.

On her way to the café, Lily skipped, excited and nostalgic. As she approached, her father, across the street, waved frantically, trying to catch her attention. But it was the voice calling her name that made her turn.

"Lily?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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"Yes," she answered the stranger. "Are you carson616?"

Before she could process the situation fully, a gut-wrenching cry from her father was the last thing she heard before a deafening gunshot eclipsed everything else.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends.

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a young woman who is forced to work in her father's hotel after he catches her mocking a maid. However, the spoiled girl has a plan to get out of her punishment.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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