I love Panera Bread: not only because it’s the best place to loiter with a cup of coffee for several hours without being bothered, but because it’s the best place to get hit on. I’m being sarcastic. It’s not the best place to get hit on: especially when you’re in a relationship and you’re busy studying for a test.
The Panera Bread location near my house (less than a mile away) has been close to my heart. Here are several reasons why:
1. My very first job was at Panera Bread when I was 17 years old.
2. I opened that location with a good friend, Rami, whom I’ve known for about 5 years now (WOW!).
3. That was the very first job I ever gave up on, and that was the very first job that took me back after a year later.
4. I met Ricky there as my co-worker, who became a drinking buddy, then a close friend, then my “now” boyfriend.
5. I got hit on and was asked for my number for the very first time by a customer, who sooner or later, became my boyfriend: Giuseppe (my Italian ex-boyfriend).
6. I met a group of friends I called “The Gang” : Rami, An, Julie, Ricky, and Christian, whom I’ve spent the summer of ’10 partying almost every week.
Panera and I go way back. It seemed that it has become part of my history, part of my life and it has been a place where I’ve met people who changed me. There were, of course, times that I hated working there and even the people I met there, but it has been somewhat of an interesting place to me. I’ve met people there, seen them walk away and kept a very few special ones.
Even until now, Panera hasn’t let me lost my own charm.
As much as I can remember, I’ve had conversations with men who approached me courageously while I was busy with my laptop and a cup of coffee. It’s either they strike up a conversation, give complements, or they ask for my number. Today was no exception. A man who thought I went to a nearby university thinks that I look like someone he knew. He tried a few times to start a conversation until just before he left, he asked me a familiar question I’ve heard so many times before, “Are you doing something tonight.”
It was an awkward moment I tell ya, but I didn’t let my guard down.
Me: “Oh… I think I’ll just be at home.”
Stranger: “Oh, well then maybe you would like to hang out somewhere tonight?”
Me: “Oh… I’m sorry I can’t. I’ll be waiting for my boyfriend to come down from Atlantic City.”
Stranger: “Oh, is he from there?!” (He sounded very hopeful thinking that he’s got a chance in dating me).
Me: “Oh, no! He was only there for the weekend.”
I saw a visible frown on his face.
Stranger: “Oh, that’s too bad! Well, it still wouldn’t hurt if we hung out right? As you know, just friends.”
Mind you, he isn’t near my age, I’m not smitten by him and he was nowhere close to being a charming guy.
Me: “Well… I don’t know.” (In my mind, I keep telling myself, just tell him you’re busy! But I was too nice).
Stranger: “How about I get your number?”
I was about to tear off a piece of paper to write down a fake number:
Stranger: “Well, as a matter of fact, how about I call you now?”
He’s clever enough to make sure that he’s calling the right person.
Stranger: “Alright, Ms. Khristine. Well, you’re still Miss aren’t you?! So, there’s still a chance. We should definitely hang out sometime. I couldn’t pass up the chance of noticing and asking a beautiful woman’s number.”
Me: “Oh, okay. Nice to meet you.”
Like I said, this Panera location has been the place where I’ve been put in awkward situations and it never fail to amuse me.
I think I might want to get a new number, never come back to this Panera alone and NEVER give out my number to strangers.
Then again, it’s flattering to know that I haven’t lost my charm despite the fact that I’m already taken!
Panera BREAD, you are definitely something!
*I was NOT paid to advertise Panera Bread corporation or am affiliated with it. This is a personal experience.*