Coffee Shop Research (by Billy Coffey)

I am of the opinion that people have a right to their own privacy, whether in deed or in word. “Mind your own business” is what my mother always told me, often with a wagging finger in my face for effect. The lesson was taught both early and often— Jesus doesn’t like eavesdropping.

Which is why I don’t eavesdrop, I research. Jesus doesn’t mind research.

I spent the better part of a recent morning in a coffee shop researching Tori, Laura, and Heather, the three twenty-something women at the next table. Very bright, very opinionated, and very vocal. In the twenty minutes I listened to them, they touched upon everything from politics to the environment to who’s doing what to whom on their favorite television show.

I was about to turn my attention to the newspaper in front of me when Laura mentioned the fact that the most recent episode wasn’t very realistic. It seemed as though one of the main characters was in a delicate position involving an unwanted pregnancy.

“Seriously,” she said, “why doesn’t she just have an abortion? No one would blame her.”

Heather took a sip of her coffee and nodded, then flicked a crumb onto the floor. “I gotta say I would,” she answered. “I really don’t see another way out for her.”

Tori, I noticed, remained silent through the recap. Her shoulders had closed in and her hands were folded around her coffee cup, as if she were trying to shrink herself enough to be forgotten.

Unfortunately and as is often the case, trying to go unnoticed was exactly what made her stand out.

“What do you think, Tori?” Laura asked.

Tori’s grip tightened around the sleeve on her cup, and she ran her other hand up and down the leg of her jeans to smooth away a wrinkle that wasn’t there.

It was pretty obvious what her opinion of the situation was; agreement with her friends wouldn’t have given her cause to be so anxious. No, I decided that Tori held the opposite view. The question was whether she would play along or be honest.

She chose honest.

“I’d keep it,” she said. “I’d find a way.”

“Seriously?” asked Heather. “You would seriously keep that baby?”


Laura let out a snort. “Please tell me you’re joking,” she said.

“I’d keep it,” said Tori.

The three sat in silence, unsure how to proceed. Changing the subject would be good. Ignoring the comment would be better. Heather glanced at her watch, hoping she would remember somewhere else she had to be.

But then Tori found her courage.

“I don’t think she should kill that baby.”


“She’s not killing anything, Tori,” said Laura. “There’s nothing there to kill.”

Heather nodded. “She’s just a few weeks pregnant, Tor,” she said.

Tori shrugged an I-don’t-care. “I don’t think it’s right.”

Laura shook her head. “You know Tor, if there’s anyone at this table who should be pro-choice, it’s you.”

“You got that right,” echoed Heather.

I wasn’t sure what was meant by that. Evidently Tori shared my sentiment.

“Why would you say that?” she asked them.

Heather and Laura exchanged an uncomfortable look between them, as if what they had to say was both obvious and awkward.

“Hello?” asked Tori.

“You’re black,” Laura said.

My eyes widened. How could a conversation about a television show turn into a discussion about abortion and race?

“So?” Tori asked.

“If there’s anyone who should appreciate freedom, it’s you,” said Heather. “Your ancestors were robbed of their rights, but you have them all. I think you’d be protective of them.”

“But it’s a baby,” Tori said. “You can’t kill a baby.”

“It’s not a baby,” stated Laura. “It’s not even considered a person.”
Tori took a long sip of coffee and stared at her friends. “Maybe that’s why I don’t think she should have an abortion,” she said. “Maybe that’s why I think it’s wrong.”

“I don’t get it,” Heather said. “What’s that have to do with anything?”

“You say if anyone should be pro-choice, it’s me? I don’t think so. I think if anyone should be pro-life, it’s me. Someone has to say that baby is a person. Someone has to stand up for him, just like someone stood up for my ancestors.”

“What are you saying, Tori?” asked Laura.

“I’m saying that you can’t sit there and say that baby isn’t a person, because two hundred years ago people would say I wasn’t a person, either.”


To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his new website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

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34 Responses to “Coffee Shop Research (by Billy Coffey)”

  1. L.T. Elliot October 19, 2009 at 1:34 am #

    >You gotta give Tori kudos for her honesty. Regardless of anyone else's beliefs, she stood up for hers and she made an excellent point. Perspective can be everything.

  2. Peter P October 19, 2009 at 1:40 am #


    That's a VERY good point!

  3. Denise October 19, 2009 at 2:58 am #

    >Wow, powerfully awesome.

  4. vanityofvanities October 19, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    >Good research. And a good lesson reminding us that you never know who's listening and being impacted by your words. Good for Tori!

  5. Chris Sullivan October 19, 2009 at 7:47 am #

    >Yowza, that one might do something big with her life. Amazing how often we make assumptions about what other people should belief.

  6. Rick and Monique Elgersma October 19, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    >Tori Rocks and I agree with her. But I admire anyone with courage like hers. Shows they've actually experienced something.

  7. Corinne October 19, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    >Wow. I really admire that girl for standing up for her beliefs. I never would have thought of it that way.
    (And I love your "Which is why I don’t eavesdrop, I research. Jesus doesn’t mind research." line!)

  8. Annie K October 19, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    >So sad how our younger generations have come to believe that everything is so disposable…

  9. Heather of the EO October 19, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    >Wow, Tori is one brave girl. And I'd never thought of that point before either.

    What a great post. I love eavesdropping too 🙂 I mean, researching…

  10. Janet Oberholtzer October 19, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    >Love the coffee shop name – and how you give us insight from Insights.

    Last line is priceless – go Tori!

  11. Marni October 19, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    >What Annie said.

    And whoa, that was profound. Tori makes an excellent point and I hope that planted a seed in the hearts of her friends. She was brave to say that.

    This was a beautiful post Billy.

  12. Tammy October 19, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    >I wish I had had that conversation 20 years ago with Tori. When I had my abortion I saw a situation and not a person.

    We need to stop throwing our "rights" around and start looking to God to know what is right.

    In His Grace,

  13. Dave October 19, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    >Wow Tori. Bravo. What a great perspective to add to the conversation.

  14. Melinda October 19, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    >What an amazing conversation. Wow.

    In January of this year, I, a completely non-confrontational, uncontroversial person, found myself in a position to start a blogger pro-life prayer team. As you can imagine, I found (and find) myself in the middle of controversy all the time, now.

    Kudos to Tori – not just because I happen to be on "her side", but because she had the courage to stand up for what she believed and made such an incredibly thought-provoking point in the process.

    Oh, and thanks for being obedient to doing "research". I know Jesus would be pleased!

  15. Rebecca on The Homefront October 19, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    >What an amazing, thoughtful answer! I'm glad she was able to voice that thought to her friends…all sides of the conversation deserve contemplation. She obviously has done hers.

    Thanks for a peek into your research, Billy. Brave of *you* to even broach such a topic as an observer.

  16. Helen October 19, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    >God bless Tori for her courage and honesty! She obviously considered the cost, and decided it was worth it! I admire that!

  17. Helen October 19, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    >Hey! Since when do we have to wait to be approved? Something up?

  18. Julie Gillies October 19, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    >Powerful post. Awesome research job, Billy!

  19. Sarah Salter October 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    >I almost didn't comment on this post. Not because I didn't like it or because I don't have an opinion on it. But because it hits very close to home. I'm going to have to think about this one and then write my own blog post on it.
    Thank God that there are Tori's out there, telling the truth to their friends…

  20. Stephanie Baffone October 19, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    >Tori-You go girl!!!!! I am pro-life and not afraid to speak up. Bless her heart.

  21. Loren October 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    >Wow, can't say I ever thought that way either but will now thanks to this wonderful research showing light on a whole new perspective! Thanks Billy!

    Bless you and may Tori continue to stand strong!

  22. Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) October 19, 2009 at 4:09 pm #

    >I have a post about abortion that I have not published yet. I wondered it if was too taboo a topic. It is interstingly approached in this way.

  23. A J Hawke October 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    >Respect for life…life eternal.

    Thanks for the post,
    A J

  24. Lisa October 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    >Powerful!!! Tori ~ You are a smart, brave woman.

  25. Jeanne Damoff October 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    >Wow! This is so awesome. Good for Tori.

    Years ago the civil rights giant, James Farmer, came and spoke at the local university where George was teaching at the time. He spoke on slavery and how much progress we've made in our society. Afterward George asked a question comparing slavery to abortion, and Farmer got furious, denying any connection. It saddened George that a man who'd poured his life into defending the rights of the oppressed would be so quick to distance himself from the plight of the unborn.

    Tori may not be a famous activist, but apparently her vision is much clearer. I hope her words made her friends think.

  26. Wendy October 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    >I heart Tori. Truly.

  27. Candace Jean July 16 October 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    >Amen to Tori, for guts, grit, and heart. Thanks once again, Billy.

  28. vanityofvanities October 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm #

    >Tammy — "When I had my abortion I saw a situation and not a person."

    Profound. I don't know if it could be summed up any better. Praise God for forgiveness and redemption!

  29. ~Brenda October 19, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

    >Tori ROCKS!!! Good for her for standing up for herself, and the unborn. Someone had to do that for blacks a long time ago, and someone has to do that for the unborn now.

    Great, great, awesome post. Thanks for sharing.


  30. Katie Ganshert October 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm #

    >Love this post. Tori speaks truth.

  31. S. Etole October 20, 2009 at 12:13 am #

    >Reminds me of a line from the movie … Princess Bride … "because you saw me when I was invisible …" Tori has terrific sight! And your hearing isn't half-bad either! 🙂

  32. Caroline October 20, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    What she says at the end just leaves me……!!! I appreciate your research with all my heart! Thanks be be to God for the Toris also for the other two because they made Tori brave.

    I have been missing your blogs because dumb as I am had saved the page with the Long winding road as my favourite and was wondering each time I checked what is up with Billy not posting anymore just because he is published!!! Anyway glad to have finally figured it out, these technologies challenge me!

  33. Autumn Beck October 20, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    >That would have been a very hard conversation to overhear. Good for Tori for standing up to her friends!

  34. JML October 28, 2009 at 12:50 am #

    >Billy, way to draw some parallel lines there and make it real for us! Great story, and I kind of enjoy eavesdropping, not gonna lie. It adds some depth (or has the potential to) when people-watching.

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