“If you give people a chance, you will see great beauty.”
Ed Watkins found his people working at Memphis Belle Coffee shop. His friend Johnny tells us the story.
“One day, about four years ago Eddie was walking past Memphis Belle coffee house in Wellington when he saw barista Johnny serving customers.
“He smiled at me so I waved at him, and he came inside,” smiles Johnny. “He doesn’t speak much, but I gave him a hot chocolate and then he left.”
A month or two later, on a busy day in the coffee shop, Eddie appeared at the door again.
“He walked behind the counter, put on an apron, smiled at me and said, ‘I work with you’,” says Johnny. “That was four years ago, and he’s been coming in every day since.”
The staff at Memphis Belle recognised Eddie’s enthusiasm immediately, and set about teaching him the skills he needed to wait tables and collect crockery once customers had left. Most importantly though, he’s been inducted as a full team member, part of the staff collective. Everyone at Memphis Belle views Eddie – also known as King Edward – as a genuine, lifelong friend. Eddie hangs out with the rest of the staff outside of work, playing basketball, going swimming and having a few beers.
“It works really well, and when it’s not working we sit Eddie down and see where we can fix the problem,” says Johnny. “It’s been a real good learning experience for me, and the other staff. The boys have grown from [having Eddie around]. They’ve learned there are different people out there and if you give them a chance, you will see great beauty out of that.”