The Man Behind The Bar

From being a friendly face on campus to a walking miracle on earth, Heth Cottrell proves to be way more than just a coffee genius.

“The doctors told me I would never walk again, and if that was God’s plan for me … then how could I fight that?” Cottrell said.

Cottrell was working as an officer manager of a real estate facility when he started to notice a sharp pain in his neck. Within weeks he was bounded to a hospital bed and was being told that his life would be changed forever. Shocked with fear, Cottrell had to endure a discectomy, which is surgery where an incision is made in the throat area to reach and remove disks found in the spine. After this very invasive surgery, Cottrell was paralyzed from the hips down for two days.

“I had a long road for recovery … I lost my job because of the injury and I became stuck,” Cottrell said. “I applied to over 112 [jobs] with no response to a single one.” 

After months of struggling to find a job, Cottrell finely landed at Piedmont College. He applied to be a barista and knew that he wanted to interact with students, however he never thought that he would have the impact on the lives of students that he has today. Students all over Piedmont come to the marketplace every day to see his bright smile or to hear his witty and uplifting comments. 

“Heth goes out of his way to remember you and remember what you like,” said Johnny Seven Goodwin, a sophomore theater art major. “He is truly one of the best workers here at Piedmont college and has made it harder for me to ever consider leaving.”

Not only does Cottrell help the students grow into young adults, but the gifted barista also believes that he is a better man because of the students. 

“The students here at Piedmont have changed me into a better man today. I am so humbled to see what students do here,” Cottrell said. “When I was their age, I would have never been able to stand up and do what they do.”

The students are what motivates Cottrell to come to work every day.

“I don’t stay at Piedmont because of the check, I stay for the students.”

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