Ah…the Joy a Starbucks Can Bring

By Dr. Meredith Collins
December 6, 2012 • comment(s)
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I believe in random acts of kindness.  It’s something that has been instilled in me for as long as I can remember.  There’s truly nothing like the feeling of doing something nice for another—and if you notice I didn’t say without expecting something in return.  Why?  Because that would be a lie.  I do expect something in return.  Sometimes my return in is the form of the feeling I get, knowing I’ve just made someone’s day; sometimes it’s hoping that the favor will make it’s way back to me.  Regardless, it’s not all that selfless.

About a month ago, as I was making my usual Starbucks run, something extraordinary happened to me.  My car was crawling through the drive-through—another one of those crazy mornings, nothing’s going right, kids are driving me crazy, and all I needed was my morning Grande Mocha, non-fat, no-whip to grace my lips.  It calms me.  It’s familiar.  It’s home.  I rolled down my window, anxiously waiting to grip my vice, and handed my cell phone to the barista.  I have this amazing app where I earn little stars and no longer need to use cash or my credit card.  Technology is beautiful.  She smiled at me and said, “No need to scan your drink.  The car in front of you already paid.”  “Seriously?”  I asked in disbelief and suddenly my day seemed brighter.  I had to pay it forward, immediately, so I had her scan in the drink for the car behind me.

My $4.00 drink became a symbol that day for something greater.  I felt special as I sipped Old Faithful.  It was as though someone knew the crappy morning I was having, and with one small gesture changed my bleak outlook.  Every time I looked over at my drink, I smiled.  I had to.  There was this secret between the unknown kind stranger and me.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the person in the car behind me was riding on this same vibe of happiness.  Great moment.

On several occasions I’ve brought my parents an unexpected Starbucks.  Or when I’m getting one on the rare afternoon (when it’s the second one of the day), I’ll grab one for my husband too.  And there are the mornings when I’ll stop with my kids and let them order their favorite drink—a little pick-them-up surprise to get their long school day started.  There’s the countless number of Starbucks gift cards I’ve received from grateful, kind parents and students alike.  I’m telling you—the joy a Starbucks can bring is amazing.  It’s uplifting—whether you’re the receiver or the giver of the gift.

So today with four long hours of conferences (one every 20 minutes) in front of me at the end of my school day, surprise and delight rang through me upon receiving a delivered Starbucks from a co-worker’s husband.  Talk about rejuvenating the soul.  Five women were nothing short of smiles by this extremely kind gesture.  Getting through another four hours suddenly became doable because we felt taken care of—we felt thought of.  And the nicest thing he said to us, as he passed the Starbucks around, was to thank us for all we do for our kids.  Seriously.  How nice was that? 

Take some time today and doing something for someone else—and not for selfless reasons either.  It’s okay to do it for you.  It’s okay to feel good for doing something unexpected.  Be selfish when it comes to being generous.  There’s nothing better than giving—try it on for size, I’m sure it’ll fit just fine.


Meredith is a mom, sister, wife, friend, teacher, critic, Starbucks junkie, writer, coach, and a million other things. She enjoys writing about the good, scary, funny, sad, exciting and all those other truths that too many people are afraid to write about. You can find her blog at http://merelovesthepack.blogspot.com or on Twitter: @FmTheSidelines.  


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Anonymous's picture

I love this! Every now and then my boss graces me with a Starbucks (just the way I like it) because I've helped her out in some way. I don't expect reciprication but when it comes, it feels great. I, likewise, will bring in homemade treats for my co-workers and they love it, too! If only everyone did stuff like this, what a great world it would be!!