I used to work at a Barnes & Noble café. We had a lot of regulars, as I’m sure most cafes do. Being the friendly barista that I was, I would often chat with them when I had some down time.
I got know some of the customers pretty well and actually had drinks with a few of them. However, there was one customer that I kind of wish I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting.
You could instantly tell something was off about this girl when she spoke, and even more so, by observing her mannerisms.
She was a young girl, and would often stand in front of bake case FOREVER trying to decide which cookie she wanted. It wasn’t long before I noticed that she was coming in more and more frequently.
The more she visited the café, the more she tried to talk to me, and when she discovered that we shared the same first name (thanks to my nametag) all bets where off.
Come to find out, the woman that she always came in with, who I assumed was her mother, was actually her aide.
She informed me that, “K” was autistic, and that she was trying to encourage her to interact more with people. She was also glad that fourteen year old K had taken such a shine to me.
I respected that, and told her I was happy to help. Nonetheless, having a conversation with K was very awkward.
She was a bit of a close talker, and she would say and ask the most bizarre shit. I don’t remember much of what she said because it never really made any sense.
I do remember one time she asked me “If you ever come to my house, would you shut the door if you had to go to the bathroom”? What the fuck?
Knowing the she had a disability, I didn’t want to be rude or make her feel bad so, I simply said “Yes, I would shut the door” and just left it at that.
Soon, things with K started to get even weirder. I found out that she had been asking my coworkers about me when I wasn’t there.
She would ask where I was, when I worked next and she even asked my manager Julie what my last name was. Obviously, she wasn’t about to divulge that information.
Then, K started bringing me these weird ass stories that she typed up. They were pages of jibberish , and random sequences of numbers.
There was no punctuation so, her “stories” were just giant run on sentences. They were strange, to say the least.
Whenever she handed me one of these stories, I would politely thank her, and tell her would read them when I got home. I ended up showing them to Julie, and she was weirded out as well.
Soon, K began following me around the café whenever she came in. This is when I started to get a bit annoyed. The store manager approached me one day and asked me about her.
I explained everything to her but, since she was a grade A bitch, she basically scolded me for interacting with her too much and told me I needed to focus more on doing my job.
After that, I tried to look extra busy whenever K came in. I wiped tables, straightened magazines; anything that made it look like I wasn’t engaging with her.
I knew the store manager checked the café cameras often, and I wasn’t about to get in trouble over this.
I kept hoping K’s aide would realize what I was doing and usher her along but, no such luck.
Shit sort of hit the fan the day that she strode up to me out of nowhere, and proceeded to recite my last name. I gave her a look of shock. She then asked me if that was correct. It was.
How the hell did she find out my last name?! Julie insisted she never told her. And why the fuck was she so obsessed with me? I was done at this point.
I told Julie, and Julie told the store manager what was going on. She ended up telling K’s aide that it would be best if they didn’t visit the café anymore.
She went on to explain to her that K was hindering my ability to do my job to the fullest, and that the situation had reached a level of inappropriateness.
K’s aide was pissed, and I actually felt kind of bad but, I knew this whole thing just needed to end. I watched the whole interaction from the backroom, and didn’t come out until they were gone.
K stopped coming to the café, and I ended up quitting shortly after the last incident. However, that wasn’t the last time I saw her.
About three years later, I was at the grocery store with my husband and babies.
I was looking at something on the shelf, when I was suddenly startled by someone loudly proclaiming “Hey! I know you. Do you remember me”? I turned around to find myself face to face with K.
She was blankly looking down at my kids with slight confusion. I told her that yes, I remembered her and that upon leaving Barnes & Noble, I had started a family.
She continued to stare at my children without saying a word. When she finally looked back up at me, I made the excuse that I had to go find my husband, which only made her look more confused.
Her dad told her to say goodbye, so she obliged, and I quickly rushed out of the isle.
I really hope no one thinks that I’m insensitive to people with disabilities. I assure you, that’s not the case, at all. I genuinely hope K is doing well. Nevertheless, K, let’s not meet again.