Before I had this job, I worked in a barbershop. The kind of place where guests begged for half-finished beer with cooler beers while they waited for the chair to take their turn. When the day is over, we make sure we fill up the beer in the cooler, so a cold supply would wait for the barbers when the last customer left the store. We set about cleaning tools and counting money, and a barber would inevitably ask, "Cerveza?"
We would answer. "Cerveza."
Then the radiator cap opened and a pile of ice-cold Brooklyn lager paddled in the remnants of the day's ice and said, "Go on, you deserve it."
The beer was something nice for the customers, something more hospitality from the hair salon. For the barbers they were something beautiful, which we have made for us at the end of a long day. Their shoulders have never relaxed so easily, with the kind of relief that comes after nine hours of the first sip of a cooling beer.
But as much as a free beer was an expression of friendliness ̵
If you give someone a beer, open it before you give it to him.
That's it. It is a generous communication of care and consideration that is carried out with the simplest gestures that only a person with years of experience in the service industry – especially a hairdresser who is set to know what a person needs and wants before they can do this – could give the impression.
At the end of the day, she would change the music and ask the store: "Cerveza?", And we would answer "Cerveza". She would beat some icy beers out of time. Cooler. Then she grabs a clean barber towel and wipes off the cooler water and condensation from each can. And like a newborn wrapped, she would break the beer. The sound, the international hint that something good will happen, would bounce off the tile of the store. And when he took it out of the towel, she gave me the beer, and the mist was still coming out of its opening.
It was one of the nicest, kindest things a person had done for me.