As a Barista at an extremely busy Starbucks, I have the distinct pleasure of coming into contact with a variety of people throughout the course of any shift. The majority of those encounters are non-eventful and pleasant, and a handful are dreadful. Today I want to focus on the good people. Trust me, I could write a Top 5 post everyday about the jerks - I have enough stories for that. Instead, I want to thank those shining star people who come through our drive-thru every day with a smile on their face. The people who, while on their way to work, always seem happy - even though I've learned enough about them to know their lives are not perfect. To those people I want to say "thank you". Nice guys don't always have to finish last.
Sit back, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy.
- People with manners. It may seem odd that I am even pointing this out, because frankly, you should just have manners. You should greet people, you should should say please, you should say thank you. This is not optional and you really shouldn't even have to think about it. This is the core of a decent human. Not so surprisingly, most people do not have basic manners. However, I see people on a constant basis during my 4-hour and 8-hour shifts who not only say "good morning", "please" and "thank you", but who also smile and make eye-contact. How amazing is that? People who are genuinely thankful to be able to order a drink and food and have it handed to them every morning, matching my smile with their own. Usually, just as they are about to drive off, they look back up and tell me to have a great day. To those people, I say thank YOU for being awesome. You make your parents proud!
- People "who pay it forward". For those not familiar with the term, "paying it forward" is when you pay the bill of the person in line behind you. Then that person pulls up to the window, is surprised (sometimes super confused) and grateful, then does the same for the person in line behind them. The longest this has lasted during a shift where I was personally working the drive-thru window was about 15 cars. That's a lot. To be completely honest, it is a total pain in the ass for the partner working the window because it slows down the entire cup-to-window process. First I have to explain to the guest that their drink is free because the car in front paid for them. Then, like Olaf, they ask "but why!?" I explain further, until finally the guest decides to either drive off or pay for the car behind them. In the meantime, I am trying to keep up with which order belongs to which car, because my register is cleared before the car pulls up. Confused yet? Regardless, it's a sweet gesture and a kind way for those who are able to share to wealth to do so and brighten someone's day in the process. It's also the way I finally let #NoTwitterTodd know I was into him, but that's a story for another day.
- People who tip. Yes, Barista's accept tips. You may know this because you've seen a cup or jar full of change by our register or at the drive-thru window. What you may not know is that we share those tips with everyone working that day. So while you may really love the way the barista made your latte, your $1 tip isn't going directly to that particular partner. It's being divided by the entire staff. For that reason, we really appreciate ALL your tips. The pennies, quarters, nickels - they all add up. What really catches me off guard each time it happens, are the big tips. From the $100 Christmas day tips, to the people who come every single day and without fail, drop $2 or $3 dollars into the tip jar. Obviously, they tip because they can afford it. (I'm sure many would love to tip but don't have extra cash.) The daily gesture is a silent nod to the fact that they realize how hard we work. Your tip, no matter how big or small, suggests you appreciate that we work here to serve you and make you happy. Thank you.
- People who communicate, talk and share. Sometimes, you have to wait for your coffee. Sometimes, a little longer than other times. We, as Starbucks Partners, hate when you have to wait because our goal is to get you in and out as quickly as possible. But on those occasions where you are stuck at the drive-thru window waiting on your Spinach Feta Wrap, and you start talking to me about your job, your car troubles, your kids, your upcoming vacation and the rising cost of daycare, rather than playing Candy Crush on your smartphone - you give me a little faith in Humanity. A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, people actually spoke to each other. They looked each other in the eyes and they engaged in conversation. Every time someone is "stuck" at my window for more than a few seconds and decides to just talk, I am grateful they know how. Verbal communication is a beautiful thing. Let's try to hang on to it for a while.
- People who are regulars who treat us like their friends. I have customers who come every day, and every day they ask me how I'm doing. They comment on my hair - "are you going to cut it or grow it out?" they ask. They ask about my daughter and if we are excited about her senior year of high school. These customers have taken the time to get to know their baristas as we have taken the time to get to know them. When we hear their voices at the drive-thru speaker box, we already have their order punched into the register and the cup labeled. Likewise, when they see me at the window, they already have a story ready to share about something they know will make me laugh. Recently, a customer pulled up to the window, flashed a big smile and said, "I don't know what you are doing, but you look leaner and happier. I love it. Keep it at!" That's been the best motivation I have received during my entire weight loss journey. Priceless. Thank you.
It's not always sunshine and rainbows, but when it is - it's a beautiful thing. Thank you, nice people. Never ever change.