Posted on

What does a pretzel bun have to do with self worth? Everything.

Pretzel Buns from Mariposa Bakery in Cambridge, MA

Becoming a Barista

When I was in my late 20s, I worked at a small bakery in Cambridge, MA called Mariposa Bakery in Central Square. At the time, I was looking for a full time job as a recreation therapist, but I had no luck finding a position. As I would walk to and from the yoga studio where I took classes, I would pass Mariposa. I noticed they were hiring, so I decided to submit my resumé. To my delight, I was interviewed and hired as a barista/counter help.

I enjoyed the influx of new and regular customers and fun and eclectic group of artists, musicians, and students that I worked with. We served a variety of espresso drinks, from-scratch pastries, and an amazing selection of delicious sandwiches. My favorite item was the pretzel bun, which was also a customer favorite. Of course one of the perks of working there was that I could eat free food and coffee all day.

The Pretzel Bun

Here is where my self worth story begins. One of my coworkers was charismatic, funny and didn’t take BS from anyone. He rode a motorcycle, played in a local band, and all of the customers loved him. He had a commanding personality and when he spoke you couldn’t help but listen. One day we were working the sandwich line together and I dropped a pretzel bun on the floor. Of course, I couldn’t use it anymore for our customers. I was about to set it aside for my lunch sandwich when my coworker stopped me with an appalled look on his face. He was like, “What are you doing with that bun?”

I said I planned to eat it for my lunch. He took me aside, looked me square in the face and said, “You absolutely will not. You deserve to have a clean, fresh bun like any other customer. Treat yourself as well as you treat everyone else.” This blew my mind. What about the 5 second rule? What about being wasteful? It didn’t really seem like a big deal to me, but after he pointed it out I had to pause and reflect on my beliefs about myself and my worth.

This happened over 10 years ago and it still stands out in my mind today. I haven’t seen my former coworker for years. I don’t know if he’d remember this incident if I told him. He may not even realize how that conversation and realization changed my life. The lesson I learned that day has stuck with me. Valuing myself can start with something as simple as a fresh pretzel bun.