After Eliza Lovett injured her arm, the Colorado Springs community stepped up and pledged to cover her shifts and forward her all the wages and tips to support her recovery.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Selby
Calling in sick for a barista shift often means losing tips and wages, and perhaps even your job. More serious injuries and illnesses can be devastating for many on the service side of coffee. When Eliza Lovett, barista and roaster for Story Coffee Company, was injured a few weeks ago, the Colorado Springs coffee community made sure she wouldn’t lose any of her shifts—or any of her wages.
Eliza, who qualified to compete in Seattle at the United States Barista Championship after competing at the Austin qualifier, suddenly was left without the use of her left arm after a roasting accident a few weeks ago. “Immediately after the accident, she was rushed to the ER, then was in the ICU for a few days, having to have several surgeries on her arm,” shares co-worker Elizabeth Selby. Quickly, the Colorado Springs community showed their support by visiting and making sure her room was stocked with coffee. “Her hospital room was always packed with friends/fellow baristas visiting, and it was literally never without an airpot of coffee from one of our city’s cafes,” shares Elizabeth.
Although Eliza is expected to make a full recovery, it’s unclear how long that will take, so the question of how she would continue to work in the cafe has come up. “It seemed like everyone was asking me and the owners of the cafe how they could help Eliza. Many people offered to work for her, or asked if they could start a GoFundMe, etc.,” Elizabeth shares. “It seemed like we were all thinking the same thing, so I just got a notebook one day (a few days after the accident), got in my car, and drove to about six different shops.” Elizabeth went from shop to shop asking baristas if they’d be willing to cover a shift or two for Eliza. “We knew she wouldn’t be able to work behind the bar for at least two months, so that’s where we started,” Elizabeth shares. “I had 17 shifts to get covered and it took me only a few hours to get everyone signed up with baristas to spare. I don’t think a single person hesitated to sign up for a shift, and some wanted to sign up for multiple.”
Not only did the Colorado Springs community rush to help cover Eliza’s shifts, but volunteers also pledged all the earnings and tips from each shift to Eliza to ensure she wouldn’t lose any money from not being at work. “These shifts are nine hours each and on a volunteer basis, meaning Eliza keeps all hourly wages and tips,” Elizabeth shares. “We just didn’t want this to be one more thing for her to focus on. We want her focused on healing and rest, so she can get back behind the bar, doing what she loves, and making our city a better place (and eventually back to competition).” Although Eliza wasn’t able to compete in Seattle, she attended the USBC and talked with the audience about her coffee and how she planned to share it in her routine—and she plans on competing again in the future.
When asked if she had expected it to be difficult to get these shifts covered, Elizabeth says no. “Our coffee community has always been a tight one, full of support and love for each other, always cheering each other on, so I honestly wasn’t that surprised with the outpour. But, it did remind me how special it is what we have here in Colorado Springs, and I will forever be thankful to be a part of this community.” If you’d like to support Eliza but can’t snag a shift, you can buy her competition coffee (Kenya Chania Estate) at either Story Coffee Co. or Peak Place Coffee, both in Colorado Springs.