Today’s Cup 8 was purchased at Starbucks, zip code 97303, while accompanied by my husband, a trusty co-pilot of my Volkswagen GTI. After strategically accelerating into the drive-thru to avoid a potential fender-bender, we joked about the young, wild drivers in the black Dodge with Texas plates– a bit out-of-place in the Pacific Northwest.
Once safely queued up in the drive-thru, we placed our orders. My husband shared that he was happy to join me for today’s task of goodwill, buying a cup of coffee for a stranger. As we moved forward in line, we continued to laugh about the near-miss of the fender-bender only moments before. Continuing to laugh, we then watched the antics of two young teens in the Texas Dodge as they goofed around in front of the camera, while ordering. As the driver leaned out the window, he yelled into the screen: “Heyyyyaaa, can you see me? Hey! Wass up my friend?” From my forty-something vantage point, it appeared these young kids just might be a little too immature to fully appreciate being the lucky car in my rear-view mirror. For a moment it seemed that saving my free coffee gift for a more serious patron might be a better idea.
As we waited patiently for two more cars, we ultimately arrived at the window. We were greeted with a warm smile and helped by quick, efficient hands. After paying for our coffees, I asked the price of the order behind me; the price owed by the Texas-plated-potential-fender-bending-yahoo. As the barista told me the total, $10.49, I said: “Ok, ring it up. I’m paying.” The barista quickly replied: “Oh, wow! That’s my brother. He is going to really appreciate your kindness. Thank you so much!”
It was then that I realized a simple lesson. Context is everything. Those youngsters had no less potential to appreciate a gift than anyone else. I quickly assumed that because of the antics, and wild driving, that the message of goodwill might be missed. And those Texas plates? Welcome to Oregon. To that young yahoo, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas holiday with your brother. I know he makes a mean cup of coffee.