We all have our favorite spots to get coffee. This was the same for Joe; the small Italian café in the middle of the city was his go-to place. They sold the best latte in the city, and he was a loyal customer.
He loved sitting close to the entrance to people watch and get work done during the week. But on this day, he had no idea what was coming for him. He had no clue that something as simple as one word would make him have to pay for the most expensive latte in the world.
His Favorite Spot
Joe Amber loves lattes and is sometimes difficult to please, but once he visited this Italian café, it took a lot of work for him to leave. The waiters knew this was the case because of his regular table location, and how much he loved sitting close to the entrance to take in the view of the city. He was frequently the first customer to enter the store when it opened. They also loved him because of his generous tips. But one day, he nearly lost his savings on a cup of coffee.
She's New Here
He didn't immediately notice a new staff member on this particular day. He was gathering up work when he spotted a new person from where he was sitting. Joe is known for his funny jokes and free spirit. It was a ritual for him to introduce himself as he did with other employees, but she was focused on preparing a cup of coffee for a customer. He rang the waiter bell to get her attention, but she ignored him.
She Was Different
Her expression was so serious. "She's probably having a rough time getting into the new system," he mumbled as he sipped his latte. She looked different from the rest of the crew. She wasn't smiling, and her grumpy face made her appear older. She seemed so uninterested and tired, all of this he noticed from her expression. He was interested in getting to know her, but maybe today wasn't a good day.
The Latte Meeting
Joe had a lazy morning, so he arrived at the café a little later than usual. He had a meeting with his colleague at work that day, and she was already waiting for him. He was used to having most of his meetings at the café because of how cozy and comfortable it is.
He ordered for his regular for his friend, but this time he wasn't expecting what was waiting for him. It was Rose, the new waitress on duty. She looked so grumpy as usual, and Joe thought he could put a smile on her face, but it didn't go as he had planned.
Joe was served by Rose that morning, and he thought it would be best to do a proper introduction this time because he had assumed that she had a terrible day the last time and seeing how calm she looked, he thought he could make her day. He proceeded to introduce himself, saying, "Hey, you seem like you're new here, I'm Joe." Nothing prepared Joe for her response.
She moved away from Joe's table to the kitchen while he had his hand extended for a handshake. Wow, Joe hadn't anticipated that. Her complete hatred of her job was made obvious by her behavior. He received Rose's snub, which his friend and other employees found embarrassing. However, this was only the beginning of his difficult interactions with Rose.
Trouble In Paradise
Not long after Joe's embarrassment, he had to act like nothing happened and try not to wonder why Rose had acted that way. When Joe heard noises coming from another section of the café, he excused himself from the ongoing meeting with his colleague to see what was happening. He was embarrassed by what he saw; Rose was arguing with her fellow co-workers and it was getting heated. Some of the customers who came there for a decent beverage were distracted by the noise, and they started to leave.
Someone Had To Stop Them
He found it unsettling to see all that drama being played out; it needed to stop. This was his favorite café and he didn't it to suffer bad reviews. Luca, who is the manager of the cafe, was his friend, and he had been away for a few days dealing with business in another city. So Joe decided to intervene because he couldn't stand to see Luca's leadership fail. But his involvement only made the overall problem worse and triggered Rose even more...
Stay Out Of This!
"Who do you think you are?" With an evil glare and a bombastic side eye, Rose shouted. She seemed quite irritable, so Joe wasn't expecting her to go from 0 to 100 so rapidly.
Joe couldn't stand the embarrassment in front of the public and didn't want to be seen arguing with her because it would make him appear to be the bad guy. He should leave the situation now and return to his work because it was becoming too much for him...
He Has Had Enough
He preferred to be out of the situation for the time being, going back to his desk to continue his work. However, things didn't appear to be going well for his favorite café, and it appeared that no one could stop Rose. He had tried to intervene but her cold and harsh reply stopped him. He wouldn't watch his favorite café build a poor reputation. Joe then came up with an idea for something he could accomplish...
Taking Necessary Actions
Joe was eager to talk to the manager. Luca is someone he regards as a close buddy, and the two of them have collaborated on business projects. He would not let the situation pass without telling Luca about the outburst. He called to meet with him outside the store so that the workers wouldn't overhear. He criticized Rose's employment there and advised him to take the appropriate action. If the problem wasn't solved, they would lose clients.
It Was Beyond Him
To his surprise, it seemed like the rule of law didn't apply to Rose after all. Luca claimed that it was beyond him; all he could do was speak to her and observe noticeable changes. But Joe would be lying if he said he was pleased with his reply. He became really interested in why the management didn't want to discipline her as required. He then decided that he’d rather see why all of this is happening.
Joe became more interested in looking into the matter while sitting at his favorite spot as he strategized on how to get more information about the ticked-off barista. It was a sunny morning and the best time to activate his detective skills. She seemed so unapologetic even after the last experience. He had no plan yet but hoped to get information from the other waitresses. If only he knew that what he was digging into would cost him dearly...
A Strange Morning
It was a strange morning at the café that particular morning. For one thing, the store was almost totally empty. Joe knew that the recent Rose episode had upset some customers. Even though he was the only customer in the store, his dedication to it didn't waver as he read a magazine and glanced momentarily at Rose, who was seated at the counter. The way she gazed at him also gave the impression that she had a plan. But what could it be?
She Cares Even Less
Rose was becoming a burden to the other workers; they worked extra hours because she appeared to be slacking on her cleaning duties. Some of the staff members there were students with plenty of stress on their minds already without a co-worker to pick up after.
She seemed not to care about how they felt; it was more like she wasn’t interested in working. Regarding her job, she came off as careless. This was just the tip of the iceberg of what Rose intended to show them.
He Missed His Favorite Latte
It was an unplanned morning for Joe after dropping off his kids at school. He was heading to his favorite café that morning when his car stopped on the way. It couldn’t have been low on gas because he bought a full tank the previous night.
He had to come out from the car to check on what could be happening. He might as well have had to skip his drink that morning and work from home. This didn’t look good for Joe, but he had no idea that this was just the start of his nightmares.
New Week, New Latte
After being absent from the café for days, Joe finally returned. But he wasn't seated where he usually was because someone else had already taken it. This time, he didn't mind; he was eager to have his preferred latte. Joe was looking over their updated menu when he noticed that they had included a new breakfast menu as well as some more drink choices. He glanced through the menu and eagerly placed an order for a different drink than his usual. Since Rose would be taking his order, he assumed that his excitement wouldn't last very long.
The Day Was Looking Good
This weekend was Thanksgiving, so Joe had to leave the café earlier than usual to get some groceries. He had to tie things up with his business too, because he was having friends and relatives over. It appeared that Rose was upset and grumpy, as if someone had wronged her. However, Joe would decide not to focus on that as he had committed to refraining from interfering in her affairs. Little did he know that he wouldn't be able to avoid her wrath this time...
She Waved At Him
After Joe made his payment, Rose smiled at him and waved. He looked back to be sure that no one was behind him. She was apparently waving at him, and he was caught off guard before he decided to reciprocate the gesture. "Thanks!" he said to her before turning around to leave the café.
Driving back home, he contemplated that surprising moment again. While he was lost in his thoughts, his phone rang. It was his wife, Ann, calling to tell him she couldn’t pay for the groceries she got for the Thanksgiving dinner because their card kept declining.
How Is That Possible?
The card was returned to her at the grocery store after the last attempt to pay for their groceries. She left the store out of embarrassment with an empty bag. Then she went home and asked Joe the reason for the insufficient funds.
He was as confused as she was; he needed to check his bank transaction history and even called the bank to be sure if there was any rectification needed. While he was looking into the transaction history, something fell from his pocket.
The Expensive Bill
His wife picked up the paper and checked what it was. It was the bill of his latte and sandwich, but she screamed when she saw it! She couldn’t believe her eyes as she called for his attention. His heart nearly stopped for a minute.
How is this even possible—$4,000 for a latte and sandwich? She got confused as to why he hadn’t checked his bill before now. He admitted that it was a mistake and that he’d look into it. Then he drove back to the cafe to rectify the situation.
"We All Make Mistakes"
We all make mistakes, and this was obviously one of them for Joe. On getting to the shop, he saw the other staff cleaning up and preparing to leave the cafe. A barista was waiting as he approached the counter area. He presented her with the bill and described what happened just as she was going to notify him about their closing time. She needed her other colleagues to confirm that her eyes weren't playing tricks on her.
Who Did It?
How could someone have made such a clear mistake, they wondered. They asked aloud who was on duty and who was attending to the cash register when Joe remembered Rose's strange smile and wave during the transaction. Seeing her cleaning the floor, he tapped her on the shoulder, demanding clarification for the receipt. She slowly took her AirPods out of her ears and asked him to repeat himself.
Can I Get A Refund?
He was visibly irritated when she took the bill from him since she had made such a huge error. He wasn’t going to take her bad attitude this time, and he made sure the manager could hear the situation from upstairs. Luca appeared perplexed as to what was going on, which seemed ridiculous. Joe began asking if he would be awarded a refund for this obvious error when Rose intervened.
He Was Disappointed
Joe wondered what she was going to do after she stood up to intervene. She was loudly speaking out of annoyance, like she was the one offended here. Oh, is she playing the victim card now? He had never experienced such a situation before in his life. She claimed to be the one in the right in this situation. Joe couldn't believe his ears when he heard her explanation of the events.
I Don't See Any Errors
She was holding the bill and pointing directly to it, saying she couldn't find the error in the bill. Joe at first thought it was a joke because it seemed so outlandish. He was losing his mind; she’s definitely a tough person to deal with, and what exactly was she trying to achieve from all of this?
Joe looked at Luca sitting right in front of him, wondering if he was even listening. He couldn’t believe what was coming out of her mouth or why she’d do something like this to him.
What Do You Mean?
Nothing prepared him for what else she had to say; if it was a prank, he hoped she would stop soon. This was getting on his nerves, and he was about to lose his patience. He had enough of her and felt that if he didn’t stop her, she’d do the same to another person. At this point, all that mattered to Joe was how he’d get his money refunded as soon as possible and an apology for her mistake.
Rose Had Her Reasons
Luca had to step in at this point because there was too much back and forth between the two sides. He requested Joe to excuse him and Rose, and he questioned Rose about what she meant by everything and whether it was all a prank. She confronted him and warned that Joe would pay severely for his actions. He was perplexed. What was she trying to say? What did Joe do wrong? When Joe heard them discussing, he was curious as to what wrongdoing it was that had led him into this situation.
He Needed More Explanation
Joe remembered how he entered that day; nothing he said was inappropriate. That was the first time he had ever seen her smile at him, so the fact that she had smiled after even paying the money seemed odd to him.
He continued by saying that he hurried his latte this morning due to the planning and preparations he made with his wife for Thanksgiving Day. At this point, he asked for more explanation of what she meant by that.
He Had To Pay For His Actions
"He was lucky I didn’t charge him more," she said, sounding so deliberate. There was so much pain in Joe's heart at this point. He never prepared for his day to turn out like this.
She claimed that he deserved to be penalized after driving a vehicle with an offensive sticker. Joe was confused about what she was referring to. It was his car that she was pointing at, but he didn't have any bumper stickers that he was aware of. And what sticker could warrant this awful treatment?
It Was All Settled
After comprehending her own point of view, he was forced to defend his innocence. The truck wasn't his, he continued. His mechanic had loaned it to him after his car broke down on his way to the latte shop a few days ago. After so much persuasion, they calculated the money for his food, deducted it from the wrong bill, and gave him a refund. She still looked dissatisfied after all was said and done.
Her Dad Owns The Place
She was revealed to be the boss's daughter. The boss was an Italian man who owned the latte shop. She comes there during her free time or when she's ordered to. He had to stop acting like a detective now that the problem had been resolved. He was nevertheless certain that her terrible behavior toward the staff and some customers shouldn't be influenced by the fact that her father ran the business. He returned home joyfully and had to tell his mechanic about the offensive bumper sticker.
It Was Going Back To Normal
Joe was back at the cafe but with his wife this time. They had to take lunch outside as they’d be preparing for dinner that evening and wouldn’t want to be stressed while cooking. He dropped his detective act already and totally forgot about Rose. He was delighted to see the staff again; especially during the Thanksgiving season. His car was to be returned to him that evening, so he planned to leave the cafe to go to the mechanic.
But yet another unforeseen event was about to unfold with Rose.
Finally Getting His Car
After finishing their lunch, they took some leftovers with them. He paid the bill like he usually did, but this time he was aware of the total on the receipt. He had to take the truck immediately to the mechanic and further explain the unpleasant sticker on his car.
It was a pleasant ride after all, and despite everything he had gone through a few days before, Joe was more at peace as they all sang along to the music playing on the radio.
His car looked perfectly okay; it looked brand new, so he had to give it a repaint. He had been postponing repainting his car for a while, and he saw this as an opportunity to fix all that needed fixing in the car.
Joe was happy that his car was back to normal, especially after the bumper sticker incident, which he explained to the mechanic, Brown. He received a call concerning upsetting news from Brown as he was driving home. He was curious what it was about because he had driven off from his place only a few minutes ago.
He sounded on the phone like a fire was breaking out. He needed to calm himself down and also calm Jack's nerves as he panicked over the phone. Joe needed to confirm which of the social media accounts his mechanic was talking about after hearing all about what he said happened.
Jack was so distressed at this point; he had never seen him act this way before. He had to ask for the Facebook link to the blog that posted it.
The Post's Link
When he clicked on it, he was shocked by what he discovered: an anonymous blog displaying a picture of his mechanic's truck with a bumper sticker. He shrugged this aside and wondered who the person behind this anonymous page might have been. He didn't give it much thought because he was certain that Rose was responsible and that her revenge was merely a plot twist. This time, he was very furious.
Rumors and Gossip
He didn't agree with the post; why is she making things worse? He read through the comments and noticed that the majority of them were derogatory. This wasn't anything he expected to happen; she always had unexpected ideas that were the furthest thing from what he'd ever expected to occur. As the day wore on, she became more toxic.
She Drew The Line
Rose seemed to need a crime partner, but Joe wasn't prepared to be that person. He wasn't prepared to fight Rose. After the manager and other employees got involved in the previous dispute, she felt humiliated and wasn't yet ready to make amends.
She was willing to go above and beyond to bring him down. She selected a catchy headline and used offensive buzzwords to make an attack on the mechanic's shop and unfortunately, people on Facebook clung onto it.
Her End Game
Rose was posting this anonymously in the hopes that no one would figure out who was behind it, but it was quickly becoming the talk of the town. Already, she had been the target of numerous accusations. Rose had everything planned out. She needed to learn more about Joe, but in order to do so, she would need to speak with someone who was very close to him. She considered the manager; they appeared to be rather close, and she ought to know more about him.
She also needed more information about his wife, but she knew that would be a little more difficult to get. She decided to use the manager as a doorway into his life. The cafe's manager, Luca, is her Dad's most trusted worker. She was perplexed as to why he would not agree to her decision. She conspired against him as well in order for her dad to get rid of him as retaliation.
Taking It to Facebook
She had it all planned out like a mission. "They messed with the wrong person."
She mumbled this while typing on her phone. Rose was about to make another post with a more detailed description of the car and what the sticker entailed. She wasn’t pleased with how the post hadn’t gone viral yet. She stated that her culture was insulted, and the culprit was unapologetic about it. She included angry emojis and used several hashtags so it could go viral.
The Post Went Viral
Soon after, she began to receive notifications from her phone about messages, comments, and tags. Her strategy appeared to be succeeding admirably; it was becoming widespread. People began utilizing hashtags, and additional blogs published the fake information. She was delighted that thousands of people would see her post. Just a few hours after posting, there were 500 comments and shares. As she flipped through her phone, she grinned. She was about to do more harm at this point, so someone had to stop her.
Her Phone Was Blowing Up
The battery on her phone was running low, and it was vibrating with texts. She received inquiries from blogs asking if she could reveal her face for an interview. She preferred to stay nameless because she didn't want to be seen in public in case the car's owner found out who had posted about it. But little did she know that Joe already knew exactly who had made the post.
Most of the comments came from concerned human right activists. Her post had a great negative effect on people; they had not experienced or heard such news in their neighborhood for years so it got them worried. They were more fueled by other people sharing their own experiences in the comments section, suggesting that their city was rife with hatred.
In response to her recent post, someone said, "Our brothers and sisters are not safe." The human rights organization continued, "Please provide us further details about how we can find them and report them to the authorities." Online rumors continued to circulate, and more people than anticipated showed interest. She thought of pouring more fuel on the fire even though it was a delicate matter that needed to be handled, she was enjoying all of this because she remained nameless and no one would suspect she was behind it.
The Influencer's Effect
She looked through various profiles to see if he could use any other channels to contact them and keep the incident quiet while providing more details. She met Julian, a well-known internet influencer who had many engagements in her posts and was verified.
As comments continued to pour in, many of which appeared to be threats against the car's owner, she was formulating her second strategy. Her situation didn't appear promising; she considered backing out, but it seemed to be too late.
Julian's post gained additional traction after she published it, and comments continued to pour in. She appeared to be enjoying how it played out. People who were angry and entitled kept making comments and threatening the lives of people they had no idea even existed. Over the Internet, the rumor persisted. She was pleased when they started asking where they might find these people and teach them a valuable lesson.
It Didn't Stop
She was tactful enough not to reveal Joe's identity, but she did mention that he was a frequent customer of the coffee shop. She continued by saying that she knows a coworker who had a similar problem but that it wasn't brought up since no one believed her and that she had also been threatened with termination if she brought it up. She knew that Luca's job could be lost as a result of this post, and her strategy was clearly working.
She Had An Ulterior Motive
Rose pretended she wasn't the mastermind behind all that happened when she got to work. She overheard her coworkers discussing the most recent trending post. They all questioned who would have publicly announced the name of their cafe anonymously and supported it with a made-up story. Rose was the target of everyone's suspicions because she appeared so unconcerned about all the happenings while she smirked and continued typing on her phone.
Because Rose was getting impatient, she assumed Joe would now message the anonymous page and beg her to take the post down. Was he pretending not to have seen it?
She was thinking of another way to aggravate the situation. She thought of a way to get information from the manager. She exclaimed loudly, "Speak of the devil," when Luca walked into the center of her workspace. Since the last post, he had been trying to identify the person behind the anonymous account, so this made him even more wary of her.
She Came Up With Another Plan
She had come to the conclusion to come up with another scheme. She needed more information about Joe, and his wife would be the best option for her to get vital information about him.
Luca was also on her list, so she couldn’t rely solely on getting information from him in order not to raise any suspicion. It was time to tread more carefully and calculate. Despite the fact that it appeared to be an impossible task, she didn't care and was more desperate about Joe's destruction.
It was a regular morning for Joe at the coffee shop. He read comments under the viral posts and was confused as to why this woman wouldn’t let it go. It didn’t sit well with him; it seemed like she was paid to make his life miserable.
He began to ponder these thoughts while having his latte. Noise was coming out of the store; it was protesters with banners with viral hashtags on them. Some went from car to car, looking for the one with the offensive bumper stickers.
His Wife Was A Target
Joe found it a bit concerning and was going to leave the premises for good that morning. He was almost home when he saw Rose coming out of his house. He didn’t let her see him until she left. He hurriedly went in to ask his wife what she was doing there.
She explained how this woman was asking too many personal questions. She mentioned that she didn’t like Rose's guts. This verified his suspicions that she was the one who created the anonymous account. He hurriedly searched for the home surveillance as proof of her presence so he could show Luca.
Dose Of Her Own Medicine
Rose's troops were outside, frightening customers away as she walked into the café. She was taken aback by this and worried that things would go south, but she was unable to back out at this time. Despite acting friendly enough to persuade Joe's wife, she was unable to obtain any information from her. But this time, Rose was about to get a dose of her own medicine.
Coincidentally, one of the demonstrators went into the cafe to place an order for a latte, and she was thrilled with both the staff's friendliness and how delicious the beverage was. She questioned whether she had arrived at an incorrect location because, based on the narrative Rose put out there, she didn't anticipate them treating her with such kindness.
They Earned New Customers
Then she invited a few of the other protesters in to try a latte as well. They were all blown away by how delicious and beautifully presented it was. There were no snide remarks from the workers and the café was in immaculate condition.
Those who had turned against them all of a sudden became their clients. They recorded positive customer feedback, snapped photos, and uploaded them on Facebook to spread an accurate portrayal of the business.
Partner In Crime
Joe was happy to find that his favorite cafe was the subject of positive online reviews and images. Rose needed to learn a lesson, and he needed to permanently exclude her from his life. He called his mechanic friend to discuss the idea he had come up with, and the guy enthusiastically agreed. Jack still knew where he could purchase some of those bumper stickers so he could cause more mischief.
Joe’s loyalty and kindness were about to pay off this time when he met one of the staff to describe where Rose lived so they could execute their plan.
Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best
As they crept up to her driveway, they noticed her blue car was parked there. They were cautious about getting caught. They could hear sound emanating from the TV, giving the impression that she was inside. They rang her doorbell, and she answered. She found a brown envelope informing her that everyone knew she was hiding behind the anonymous page. Rose had to remove the post and deactivate her Facebook account and she is still unsure of how someone discovered her.
When she walked outside to see who left the envelope, she noticed that her car had been absolutely covered in bumper stickers ranging from funny slogans to cartoon characters. None of them were offensive in any way, but it would probably take Rose months to remove them all.
The events of this story are entirely fictional and are products of the author’s imagination. Images included are meant for illustration purposes only. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.