Roland sells doughnuts. Or, rather, he is the intermediary through which one procures doughnuts. As Roland is fond of saying, the doughnuts sell themselves, he is just a guide to their delights. Customers do not need to be cajoled into walking into the store; they arrive already floating on a cloud of anticipation, already craving the sugary relief from the drudgery of their morning, already predisposed to take several moments of saccharine self-care. Encountering Roland, their excitement is merely augmented by the sunny disposition, by the ready smile, by the general positive aura emanating from and encompassing the corporeal form of their doughnut dude.
Roland’s first employment was in hospitality, and it is abundantly apparent that he absorbed its axioms. Roland attributes his innately welcoming vibe to his Hungarian extraction, the instinctual humor gleaned from growing up in a post-Communist regime that was nonetheless typified by incidents ripe for satire. Regardless of its source, even in the first milliseconds of entering the shop, it is clear that Roland takes an abiding interest in the happiness of his clients. His accepting gaze signals a clear intention to connect each person with the doughy confection best suited to that moment in their existence.
A natural conversationalist seeking new challenges, Roland then worked in sales, a task that he loathed despite his obvious skills. His unhappiness was rooted in his belief that he was duping people into buying something that they neither needed nor wanted. Roland is not a pushy guy, but he is convincing. It is little wonder that he developed guilt at the efficacy of his salesmanship. Now instead of hawking subscriptions or vacuums or some other unnecessary consumer good, Roland’s gleaming eyes and playful smirk are the only attributes necessary to encourage one to treat oneself to that extra buttermilk bar or to that crazy mocha cherry almond monstrosity.
Roland’s motives are pure. He is not motivated by money despite acknowledging his need therefor. Given his interpersonal gifts, Roland was solicited into a high-level position in human resources. Roland was an HR dynamo, but the stress and the conflict and the arcane rules subsumed any joy that he felt in smoothing over workplace frictions. With a full bank account and an empty heart, Roland knew that he needed to ensconce himself in an environment that was coincident with his values.
Roland has a very well-developed sense of himself and his place in the world. He views his arrival at the doughnut shop as an ascent, not a step down or backwards. Reaching a plane of peace with his station, discovering his rightful location, unlocking his joy are considerably more powerful outcomes than any traditional accolades. Roland’s enjoyment of his job is self-evident, an inspiration to those seekers that believe that they must constantly achieve in order to be happy.
Perhaps there are some that do not appreciate Roland’s unhurried attentions. Roland does not view his work as merely transactional. It is a cooperative effort, a communion, a chance to learn and to educate, an opportunity to joke or to listen. The time necessary to so interact may lead to impatience on the part of those queuing behind the cashier, those who have not yet had the pleasure of Roland’s undivided, undistracted mind. Some just want their raised glaze and their cup of drip and to be on their merry way. They are in the wrong place, adopting the wrong mindset, visiting the wrong person.
Roland is an ordinary dude performing a seemingly mindless, rote function with a grace, aplomb, and enthusiasm that can bring a smile to even the most sour countenance. Roland is my hero.