By STACEY PATTON WALLACE
Back when I taught language arts at Long Cane Middle School in LaGrange, Georgia, I always wanted to be fair to all my students and wanted them to succeed. However, I must admit that I had a soft spot for David and Lauren (not their real names), who were exceptional education students I taught in my co-teaching class 10 years ago.
Although David and Lauren struggled with reading and writing, they were so sweet and worked really hard with a great attitude. Therefore, they were such a joy to teach. In fact, I much preferred teaching students such as David and Lauren instead of lazy, gifted students who didn’t appreciate their gift.
Teaching exceptional education children reinforced the lessons which I had already learned. Namely, that everyone: 1. is loved by God equally; 2. has value; 3. can learn (just at different paces); 4. has something to contribute; and 5. deserves a chance to make a contribution.
Therefore, when I read in The Observer that Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop had come to Auburn, I was excited to go there. When Mike and I traveled to Bitty & Beau’s at 100 N. Gay St. in Auburn, we liked what we read on the wall of the shop: “The Wright family founded the first coffee shop in 2016 in honor of their two children, Bitty and Beau, who have Down’s syndrome. It’s changing the way people see other people.”
Bitty & Beau’s employs people with intellectual and developmental challenges. Mike and I loved the bright, joyful atmosphere of the coffee shop.
Evelyn, the shift supervisor and a college student, was so kind, helpful and patient. She said that she told her parents, “You know you have it good when you miss being at work.” Also, Austin Jones, the manager of Bitty & Beau’s, was really kind and helpful, too. He didn’t get annoyed at all my questions.
Mike and I both ordered strawberry smoothies and cinnamon rolls. They were too. delicious. for. words. I really wish we’d had this place in Auburn when I was in school, back in the Dark Ages.
Besides our wonderful smoothies, Bitty & Beau’s serves customers coffees, lattes, bagels and muffins. Next time, I think I’ll try their delicious-looking blueberry muffin with a coffee; that will be really great for fall and cooler weather.
After Mike and I finished our amazing smoothies and cinnamon rolls, I enjoyed talking with the coffee shop’s employees. When I asked Carter, who took our order, what was the favorite part of his job, he said, “I like interacting with the customers.” When I asked Fritz, Carter’s coworker, the same question, Fritz said, “I get to make neat drinks.” Carter and Fritz, you both get an A+ from this retired English teacher.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop has a motto: “More than a cup of coffee.” I quite agree. In fact, people of Lee County, if you visit Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop (and I hope you do), you will receive a cup of joy. Believe me, if you’re sad, come to this wonderful place and you’ll leave with a smile.
Mike and I felt so welcome at Bitty & Beau’s. We loved the handwritten notes on our cups. Mine said, “War Eagle, Hey!” Mike’s said, “Thank you.” The coffee shop also has gift items such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, tumblers, aprons and more. We bought T-shirts and in our sacks were thank-you notes. Mike and I have never felt so welcome in our lives.
Run and do not walk to Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop. It has made the Loveliest Village on the Plains even lovelier.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Shop makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in The Observer. Stacey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Please note: Bitty & Beau’s only accepts credit and debit cards, no cash.