Hum the song and you’ll instantly remember that Route 66 cuts through Flagstaff, Arizona. On the historic stretch of road that runs parallel to the train tracks, don’t let the morning sun get in your eyes or you’ll miss the bean-sized Wicked AZ. It’s a free-standing drive-up coffee window where you can find 23 year-old barista Kate Broeren.
Like most 20-somethings, Kate seems happy and upbeat, but she has a lot on her mind. Last year, she graduated from college at Northern Arizona University, majored in Public Health and has been accepted into nursing school in Phoenix. She is one year into her three year wait period before she can begin.
“I swear I wanted to be a nurse since I was three years old. I have other interests, but I really enjoy medicine and taking care of people.”
Maybe that love of medicine inspired the daily trivia question in the coffee shop window:
What ails you if you have a bilateral periorbital hematoma?
The correct answer will save you 25 cents.
Another BNSF train rumbles past.
Kate is thinking about moving to Phoenix even sooner. “I really just kind of want to start fresh with my life.”
Change has a way of doing that — making people crave a fresh start. Among the things that have changed for Kate: One week ago, her parents divorced.
“They say it’s hard on kids when they’re young, but it’s just as hard when you’re an adult.”
The upside though is Kate is mature enough at this age to look for lessons within the hardship.
“I was sort of raised not to talk about my feelings,” she says. “But I’ve learned that if I want to be happy in life, communication is the most important thing you can do with somebody.”
Her motto — until more healing takes place: “This too shall pass.”
Another customer pulls off Route 66 and Kate greets them with a smile.