Oh, the President and I go way back. Waaay back.

By that I mean to Friday, May 20th at approximately 11:47am.

Oh, and by “President” I mean the President of Costa Rico, not the President of the United States.

And also by “go”, I mean I shook his hand and promptly fashioned him a sandwich when he blessed our humble local Bakehouse with his lunch-time needs after giving an important lecture at Kansas State University. That was a gosh darn beautiful sandwich if I ever made one, I can assure you of that.

This was a seriously cool moment for me. I mean, it’s the elected ruler of a whole friggin country whose hand I found clutching my own feeble phalanges and giving them a poorly-returned wiggle.

I hold politicians in a higher regard than celebrities, mostly because I have a foundational, John-Oliver-based understanding of how intensely difficult it is to be an elected leader of a country. You have to get everybody to like you (whether by actually being a stellar individual or by coercion, it’s nevertheless a challenge) and then you actually have to do good things for your country. With the amount of mass public outrage targeted against every single government ever created, it’s not a walk in the park, and it isn’t immediately rewarding. Mostly because I might be the only person within a 20 mile radius who thinks politicians are cooler than celebrities.

Also I recently started watching House of Cards and so I’m all hyped on politics.

An essential matter of humanity was reinforced for me the day that President Luis Guillermo Solís of Costa Rico strolled in and out of our cozy, espresso-wafting Bakehouse. For your further disappointment over the misleading title of this post, it didn’t actually have much to do with the President himself.

It was this: the greatest gift you can ever give an excited person is to let them be excited.

My coworkers are a collection of the most magical Enlightened people, all of whom I consider myself blessed to not only work with but even know in the first place. I love them all quite dearly. But they are also humans, and so sometimes, as one might be able to predict, we aren’t perfect in attending to each other.

The first co-barista to come clock in for a shift after the President left was immediately excited.

WHUT” she thundered, whipping around to try and glimpse a chiseled, secret-service backside. “THAT’S INSANE!”

I was feeling rather encouraged by this remark, and together we shared a wonderful moment of mutual excitement over the gracing of pseudo-royalty. She let me be excited, and even was excited with me, which made me all the more excited! So much excitement! I felt that my hype was justified and the experience was made all the more cooler.

The second co-barista to clock in came around half an hour after the President left. When I announced the grand news, he raised his eyebrows and admonished, “Dude! That’s awesome!” and then proceeded to let me impart upon him my plans for commemorating this event for all eternity by perhaps purchasing a large, over-priced plaque from Hobby Lobby. I could tell that he wasn’t personally ecstatic by the appearance of the President, but he did such a wonderful job at letting me be excited, and it again made the event so much cooler.

Then the third co-barista came to clock in.

I’m still hyped up by this point. So hyped, that I shriek “Hey! Guess who came in just an hour ago!”


“The freaking President of Costa Rico!!! I made him a sandwich!”

…..crickets. Crickets, folks.

“So? Did he grant you citizenship to Costa Rico or something?”


Then this barista proceeds to spend the next five minutes telling me why he doesn’t care and why he doesn’t think it’s such a big deal.

And all the hype, and the feelings of justification over being excited, all of that died just a tad. I began to feel overdramatic and immature. The occurrence of the President started to feel just the tiniest bit trivial and exaggerated. Even if my co-barista had been kidding or was being sarcastic–which he really wasn’t–that excitement of mine would have still died a bit.

He didn’t let me be excited. He tore it down. And the most frustrating part about that was the fact that it would have been so easy for him to not do that. Just let me have my excitement. Give me a cordial nod, maybe a “sweet!” in acknowledgement and be on your way. Yeah, maybe I’m being a bit over-bearing. But I would personally rather live in a world where people are too excited about life than constantly where everyone is underwhelmed.

So I really did learn something by the President’s appearance on Friday. It’s that when someone is excited about something–unless it’s like, meth, or something that should probably be probed into further–let them be excited. Actually, maybe it’s more simple than that. Just don’t be a tool.  Don’t let them know that you think their excitement isn’t exciting to you at all.

There is so much in this world that is dark and passionless; there are so many, many things that happen daily to make us lose faith in humanity. We need the little wins; we need little bouts of excitement in our lives. And we have to foster those bouts in each other and in ourselves. We have to do our part to make each other’s lives suck just a little less.


This post is dedicated to you, President Luis Guillermo Solís of Costa Rico, for being a baller President, a firm hand-shaker and a connoisseur of delicious café sandwiches, of which I complement your taste.


Peace and Blessings,




“I think you would find people who find that government salaries are enough, because they’re not there to make money, they’re there to serve the country.”

-Luis Guillermo Solis

1 Comment on “What I Learned When I Shook the President’s Hand

  1. Pingback: Happy 100! Letter from the Editor and Most Memorable Posts – Kissing the Earth

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