Today’s cup took place at Starbucks, zip code 97071. After paying for my latte, I presented a $5 bill at the counter and said: “Just pay for the next one you ring up, either here or in the drive-thru.” The tall, lanky barista with a warm smile replied: “Absolutely, no problem.” He then continued to move hurriedly behind the counter, prepping one red holiday cup after another.
As my Cup 2 contribution was released into the coffee universe, I wondered who among the patrons would end up with the free java. I waited patiently for my latte and watched: the family with matching jewel-toned puffy coats, the group of out-of-towners who arrived in a Portland Taxi minivan, and the woman in the Toyota Prius with a Duke Alumni bumper sticker. I wondered which of these might be the recipient of my $5 freebie goodwill. I secretly hoped it was the woman in the Prius, but the fun of this project is that I may never find the answer.
Within a matter of minutes, my coffee order was plopped onto the service counter. I happily grabbed the extra-hot, steaming soy latte, wrapped my scarf tightly around my neck and headed out into the stormy winter afternoon. I smiled. All the way home.