Chris also liked pumpkin muffins. Every day he'd go to Variety Coffee Shop on Graham Avenue to order a pumpkin muffin and a cappuccino. He stood out from the usual hipster crowd, with his British accent and rakish hat and being at least twice their ages, so his order quickly became known by the four barristas.
"You sure do like pumpkin muffins," one barrista said.
Chris wanted life to be more exciting than people just eating stuff because they liked it. And he particularly didn't want to be known as the guy who couldn't resist pumpkin muffins. Just on a whim, he decided to liven things up. "It's not for me," he said. "There's an old Italian lady who lives upstairs from me. She lives all alone, and she has to be ninety years old. She doesn't get out much any more and she just loves pumpkin muffins."
The barrista's jaw dropped. "You are so sweet," she said. "That's the nicest thing I've ever heard."
Chris came back the next day, and the next, and the next. He ordered the cappuccino and pumpkin muffin, and all the barristas quietly admired his thoughtfulness. But one day Chris went in and decided he just didn't feel like a pumpkin muffin. He wasn't in the mood. "Just a cappuccino, please," he said to the barrista.
"What's up?" asked the worried barrista. "Why not a pumpkin muffin?"
Inspiration hit, and when inspiration hit Chris went with it. "The old woman died. It was very sad. The whole family was there, and they ate Italian food. The funeral is today. It's just barely hit me. It's so strange to order just a cappuccino now. I can hardly believe she's gone."
"Ohmigod," said the barrista. "That is so sad."
"But thank God for you," said another barrista. "You made her life so much better in the last few months by always thinking about her."
All the barristas nodded in agreement. Chris hung his head sadly as he exited with just a cappuccino.
The next day Chris decided he wanted a muffin again. "A cappuccino and a pumpkin muffin," he said to the barrista.
"But I thought the old woman died," she said.
"She did," he said sadly. "But I decided I'm going to eat a pumpkin muffin every day in memory of her."
The other barristas wiped away tears. "That is the sweetest thing I ever heard," one said.
Chris was elated by this development. Now he could eat a pumpkin muffin every day, and nobody would think it was just because he loved pumpkin muffins. And every day thereafter Chris bought a cappucino and a pumpkin muffin. And every day four barristas, as well as nearly all of the people Chris met, said, "There goes a really special guy."