A coffee, please

History teacher Margarida eagerly awaited her vacation to finally be able to return to Toronto and visit her childhood friend, Suely. She had not been to the Canadian city since 2012 and missed everything!

All the lights of a typical big city and the rush of urban life charmed the young teacher who lived in a small town in the interior of Paraná. One of Margarida’s favorite pastimes was chatting away with Suely, drinking a “French Vanilla” and eating a “Boston Cream” in the cafeteria near their house. Margarida did not speak many words in English, but one day while waiting for Suely to return from work, she decided to venture out and order alone.

As she approached the clerk, she was a little nervous and could not remember the name of the drink she so enjoyed. She started to rummage the bag and found an old receipt from the same cafeteria. Shamefaced for not speaking English, she pretended to be mute and only handed the receipt to the clerk, who copied exactly the previous request. “$7” was the amount charged. Margarida thought it odd that high value for a coffee that was usually no more than $2! She thought something was wrong, but she did not know how to ask.

A few minutes later, the clerk indicated that the request was ready. Margarida came and smiled. The boy handed her a tray with 3 cups of coffee. “I think you’re mistaken, I only ordered 1 coffee,” she thought to herself. But how would she ask? The teacher tried to express her thoughts through gestures, indicating that she would like only one coffee. The more she gestured, the more confused the attendant seemed, and the more nervous she became. That’s when she had the idea to check the original receipt. She looked at the receipt and remembered that it was on a day that she had gone out with Suely and friends. To end her agony, she picked up the 3 coffees and sat down at a table far from the cashier. At least Suely and Margarida would have enough coffee to last for hours of conversation.

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