Cafe Manager Berates Teen Worker, Oblivious Her Father Is in the Queu

Lily got a temporary job to afford her art materials, not expecting her boss to lose it on her very first day at the register. It got worse when her estranged father stepped forward to defend her, causing a major upheaval in her life.

Lily entered the café, her excitement obvious—this role was her means to buy art supplies. With dreams of creating vibrant paintings, she eagerly began her job, taking guidance from her colleague, Kyle.

“You’ll manage orders, I’ll handle the coffee, and you’ll run the register. We’re really busy in the mornings, so stay alert,” he advised. “Supposed to have more help, but the manager, Mr. Reynolds, is nuts. Best tip: steer clear of him when possible.”

Lily nodded seriously.

As soon as the “OPEN” sign was flipped, a rush of customers tested her strength. She managed the influx of orders until Mr. Reynolds’s harsh voice halted her.

“Well done, new girl,” Mr. Reynolds said. “You’ve gotten yourself fired on day one.”

“But why, Mr. Reynolds? What did I do wrong?” Lily pleaded.

“You showed up looking ridiculous.” He pointed at Lily’s bright blue hair. “Get back to your circus and leave.”

Lily touched her hair, dyed over the weekend. “There’s nothing about hair color in the dress code… I checked, sir.”

Mr. Reynolds sneered. “Should’ve known better than to hire some bratty teenager. You don’t get professional standards. Leave my café.”

Lily was stunned. Her dreams of buying high-quality paints dissipated as she faced unemployment again.

“You can’t talk to my daughter that way!”

Lily recognized the voice immediately, anger and embarrassment boiling as her father, Damian, stepped out of the queue to confront her manager.

“I’ll speak to my employees—correction, former employees—how I please!” Mr. Reynolds retorted. “Take her back to the circus and don’t come back.”

Lily, mortified, looked down as her father drew near, ready to argue further with Mr. Reynolds.

Caught between a disrespectful manager and an unforgivable father, Lily decided swiftly. “Fine! I’m out!” she announced, glancing regretfully at Kyle before leaving through the back.

“Lily, wait!” her father called. “I need to explain why I left!”

“I don’t want to hear it!” Lily snapped, increasing her pace.

He grabbed her arm. “Just ten minutes… I had no choice but to leave, but now I’m back, wanting to make things right,” he appealed.

Lily shrugged off his hand. “Forget me. I’ve forgotten you,” she replied, rushing to the subway where she finally let herself cry.

Remembering her father’s abandonment, Lily recalled the hardships: financial strain, increased responsibilities, and the silence from a once-adored man. His departure reshaped their lives, forcing her and her mother, Alison, to adjust.

Back home, Lily found solace in painting, despite nearly depleted supplies. Her attempt at art was chaotic, a swirl of colors and emotions on canvas.

“It’s beautiful,” Alison’s voice surprised her. Sharing a rare moment of closeness, Lily couldn’t reveal the day’s events, not wanting to add to her mother’s exhaustion.

Instead, she took charge, insisting on making dinner so Alison could rest. Cooking frozen ravioli was her simple way of caring.

Ultimately, Alison’s inquiry about the café job forced Lily to explain her firing. Her mother’s disbelief and support echoed Lily’s own sense of injustice.

“It was absurd,” Lily agreed. “I’ll look for another job tomorrow.”

“Absolutely,” her mom encouraged. “Setbacks happen, but keep looking forward. There’s always a way through.”

Lily appreciated her mom’s optimism but found it hard to stay hopeful as rejections piled up. Her dwindling art supplies mirrored her spirits, yet her emotional drive fueled creativity.