SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Most customers who meet Luc Guier would agree that his bright smile and enthusiastic personality would rival the strongest kick of caffeine you'd find at the Santa Barbara Roasting Company off East Gutierrez Street.
"I love it! I love working here, it's great!" said Guier with a huge smile.
Collecting job skills at the tender ages of 12 and 13 is keeping a group of seventh and eighth grade students at Santa Barbara Middle School (SBMS) out of class this week as part of Career Study Week, now in its 41st year.
Our reporter, Beth Farnsworth, and producer, Bryce Hanamoto, caught up with Luc Tuesday morning at the popular coffee spot.
"Would you like it iced?" Luc asked a customer. "Yes please," she answered.
Luc was just hours into the start of his five day barista job-training.
"I just learned how to work the cash register," Luc said. "I've been helping out some customers. It's been going great, I really love it."
Luc said he got his training position through a job lottery at school.
"I have a friend that came up to me and said, 'Dude! You should do Santa Barbara Roasting Company! I worked there last year and it was really fun and the people are really nice and kind.' And I'm like, 'Ok!' I'll try it out.'"
According to Merritt Bauer, Communications Manager for SBMS, Luc is one of 108 students in jobs around town for the next eight days, living the school's motto: "Learning happens everywhere we go."
"We interviewed just as like a normal employee would be," said Ederita Hernandez, Santa Barbara Roasting Company's Retail Manager. "And he, you know, won my heart over with his huge personality and willingness to help people. So far he's rocking it!"
"Entry level job work which is cleaning the sinks, doing the dishes, cleaning the cafe," said Brolin Russell, longtime owner of Santa Barbara Roasting Company. "And interacting with customers and cash register, that's probably the funnest part."
The coffee company is one of many local businesses that has partnered with SBMS over the years to help students gain job skills. Luc's mentor, Edwin Hernandez, said he enjoyed his first day on the job and actually learned a thing or two from Luc!
Customers in line seemed to perk up while watching the student take orders and operate the cash register with Edwin's help behind the counter.
"They're starting young and you know, building their work ethic in a sense so, I think that's pretty cool," said customer Inocencio Luna.
"I think my favorite part is helping the customers cuz that's fun," Luc said. "Meet new people and yeah, I love it!"
SBMS started the career program back in 1978. Along with Luc's 25-hour work week, he'll write a resume and a thank you letter to his temporary employer.
There's no telling if Luc will taste-test all that the 30-year-old coffee company has to offer before his time is up; Luc's barista gig ends Saturday.