Be The Light: Of Coffee, Kindness, And Connection

I read about the idea first when bikerchick57 posted about it on her blog, Mary J Melange.  Then I read about it again when Susan Scott wrote about it on her blog, Garden of Eden Blog.

I liked what they were talking about so I thought to meself, I’ll do this project, too.  Thus I share with you my first post in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest, the point of which is to highlight positive news stories and present them on the last Friday of the month.

* * *

INTRODUCTION: I initially thought it would easy to find a positive news story online, but I was naive.

Stupidity. Anger. Hostility. Resentment.  Those news stories were everywhere, easy to find even when I didn’t want to find them.

I was ready to give up on this project but decided that I wouldn’t let vitriol win, and eventually I found the following positive news story, therein proving that good news is out there if you intentionally look for it.

* * *

THE NEWS STORY: When I finally found something positive in the news, it was a story about a small personal gesture made by a woman who behaved rudely toward a guy who was just doing his job.  The story, Starbucks barista gets apology note and $50 bill from ‘sassy’ customer, hit home with me for many reasons.

For one thing, I’ve worked as a waitress, which is like a barista in that you have to deal with tired people who just want their food and drink. Now.

Also I’ve been a sassy customer, not in food establishments as much as in retail stores, when I can’t find what I want– and all that I want is, in my mind, so simple and should be there.

And three, I’ve sent apology notes to friends and family when I’ve goofed up. ‘Cuz good manners count.

* * *

COMMENTARY: This was an act of kindness that highlights a common problem that I see in our increasing complicated, impersonal, and fast-paced world.  That is, a lack of patience for not getting what you want, then taking it out on whomever happens to be the messenger.

But what I do not see or read about often enough are apologies expressing a sincere regret for impatient behavior, backed up with something tangible. Hello, President Grant!

So in conclusion, with all due respect to Gibbs Rule #6, I think that in many cases, such as this one between strangers, apologies are a sign of strength that can only make our world a better, less hostile, more connected place in which to live.

And we all want that, don’t we?

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

64 thoughts on “Be The Light: Of Coffee, Kindness, And Connection”

  1. I does seem that, according to our news and social media, “Shoot the messenger” is the default game far too often and people who provide direct services to the public deal with it a lot. You found a lovely small story of rel apology.

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    1. bobcabkings, small kindnesses go a long way toward making the world a safer and happier place. I think this woman’s example is a good one, and defies the social media tropes that tell us, repeatedly, that it’s all doom and gloom out there in the big bad world.

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  2. I think Gibbs has eased back on that rule, as should we all. I’ve never been one NOT to apologize when I spoke or behaved badly, because I always feel bad later. As a society, we have been caught up in instant and self-gratification and are easily provoked to anger when we don’t get what we want. Now. I work very hard to be the opposite, to be patient and kind with others, because that will make the world a better place and you will see less vitriol when looking for a positive news story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. bikerchick57, I think you’re right about Gibbs and his rules. There’s one now about being wrong– or something to that effect. Imagine!

      You’re spot on with your observations about how as a society it’s all about instant gratification and self-centeredness. Like you, I work at being patient, but some days people do push me a bit too far, so I get what happened with this customer who got “sassy.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Working in any sort of position where you deal with the public, can be challenging, that’s for sure! I have been the recipient of an angry/frustrated/unreasonable customer on a number of occasions over my lifetime & I have certainly been the deliverer of all of that as well. Most times it has very little to do with the person standing in front of them & more to doing with stuff going on in their own life. You just happened to be the last straw of that day/week/series of crap when they lash out. To recognize that & apologize for losing your shit on someone out of your own frustration is absolutely the right thing to do! Great post Ally!

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    1. Lynn, you said it! It rarely has to do with the incompetence of the person standing in front of you, and almost always has to do with things in your own life. We all get frustrated and lash out, but this woman made it right in a meaningful way that inspires me to be a better person.

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    1. lorrie, you made me laugh out loud on that one! Now that I’ve written one of these posts, and have a feel for where to look for positive news, I’m going to enjoy this blogfest– and am pleased that you’ll be reading along. We all do what we can. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The Microsoft News reader built into Windows 10 has a category called “Good News” that I read occasionally to remind myself we’re not always angry humans all the time.

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    1. Andrew, that’s the exact reason why I decided to do this project. I wanted to intentionally look for some goodness out there in the interwebs. However, it’s more difficult to find positive news than I ever would have thought…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I read that article this week, too. It was so uplifting to read the customer’s apology. As you said, we need so much more of this in our very negative, out of control society. People are too quick to jump with hatred without taking the feelings of another person into account. Kindness matters! Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth, I agree with what you said, of course. 🙂 I understand how this incident happened. Who hasn’t been ticked off by something going wrong at the wrong moment in your life? But to make amends in a classy way that was appreciated is about as positive as you can get in today’s society.

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  6. I learned early in my business career that apologizing when you are wrong goes a long way to get you respected. People like sincerity and they like to be validated. Kudos to you for finding a positive news story. Our local channel does one at the end of it’s broadcast every evening. Some days it’s the only one in the news. So sad.

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    1. Kate, I think the same way as you do about apologizing, but Gibbs Rule #6 has taken over in our society. I was surprised by how much effort I put into finding a positive online news story. One of our local TV news stations may do the same thing as yours. I’m going to look into that. Thanks for the idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thatsa nice. Wow. I remember working at Starbucks and this one woman always asked for half a Splenda. Customer service is hard! I’m glad this woman apologized and with a tip! YAY! Fun bloggy idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, half a Splenda? The fussy things fussy people ask for are amazing. I’d be tempted to give her a full packet of real sugar just to see if she noticed! 😈

      I agree about the tip. Now that’s saying “I’m sorry.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seriously. I think I strained an eyeball every time she asked for her half a Splenda. My shift supervisor, bless his 25-year-old heart, put me on register so I didn’t have to deal with ridiculous drink-making. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I never heard about Gibbs or his silly rules. I’ll have to check that out more completely. I have experienced the frustration of others upon myself but I was working in a doctor’s office and just chalked it up to people being ill and cranky. Since my 3 children worked in retail and would come home with stories of how badly people treated them, I have made a concerted effort to be kinder to all service people in my interactions. I do admit that sometimes I, too, am frustrated and get a little short tempered but I try to remember to apologize at the end of my tirade. You are the second one of the people I “follow” who has joined this We Are The World Blogfest. It definitely is spreading!

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    1. Janet, Gibbs is on NCIS and if you google his rules you’ll find them all over the www. Some of his rules are keepers, but he’s most famous for #6.

      I can imagine how cranky people would be coming into a doc’s office, having been one of those cranky people a few times.

      As an adult I worked in retail management and the stories I could tell you would rival this barista’s experience. However, no one ever gave me $50.00 to soothe my hurt feelings!

      This #WATWB is a fun one. You could always join in!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, THAT Gibbs ! Him I know, but I was just a casual watcher so didn’t get the reference. I’ll have to look up more of his rules :). Maybe after the #atoz I’ll check out the #WATWB.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, Ally. I agree that apologies go a long way and this woman did it with class. The world would be a far better place if people were more willing to give a heart-felt apology when they’ve stepped out of bounds. We’ve all been there – on both sides.

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    1. Joanne, thanks. I agree that this customer made her apology classy and memorable. And the barista didn’t even think she’d behaved all that badly! Poor guy, makes me wonder what all the other customers must be like where he works.

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        1. I worked in retail management as an adult, and there’s some truth to that. But some days, some people, really got to me. I’m just so glad that this barista got such a handsome tip for his inconvenience. Makes me smile.

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  10. You said it Ally Bean, we have to have the intention when we look for good news. It’s not easy to find, yet once we start intentionally looking for the good or good news it’s there. Great post thanks! HAGW .. (have a great weekend)

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    1. Susan, thanks for stopping by to comment. I imagine that next month it’ll be easier for me to find positive news, now that I have my mind set on that intention. Enjoy your weekend, too.

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  11. I got a little teary reading that. I like to think that there is this sort of thing happening a lot more than we see, and that most people don’t post about it or talk about it. But then again, I wander around the world as an optimist, so it’s probably easier for me to believe these things than it is for many other people!

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    1. Sarah, I bet that you’re right in thinking that there’s more of this sort of kindness going on in the world than we know about. Social media rewards complainers/victims with likes and comments, while it often ignores the do-gooders who aren’t deemed as interesting. Odd world in which we live, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I agree that apologies are a sign of weakness, and that’s why we shouldn’t apologize falsely, but also, that’s what renders an apology sweet. It’s good to show humility and vulnerability when we’ve been wrong. When we do that, that’s strength of character shining through. I think it leads people to better trust and communication.

    I like that you chose this one. It’s a good’un 🙂

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    1. joey, you’ve got some sound reasoning going here. I suspect that Gibbs would approve. I like that this woman was self-aware enough to realize that she’d done something rude, even if the barista didn’t think it was that out of line. Like you said, her strength of character came shining through– and made for a good positive story to share for #WATWB.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I saw this story, and I also loved it. So many times the feel god stories are a customer leaving a big tip for a waitress who is broke or something like that. Or someone helping someone in line at the grocery store. Those stories ARE good, and I’m glad there are good people out there, but what I liked about this story is that the customer acted poorly, as we all have done at some point, she thought about it, and she apologized. The $50 is just icing on the cake, and not necessary, but I am sure it was much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J, this story appealed to me for the same reasons. Our do-gooder customer admitted to not being a do-gooder, then rectified the situation in the best way possible. A most unusual story that, like you said, is not the typical “tip” story. There are good people out there, if only the news would feature them more often so that we might all learn from their examples.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy, thank you! I didn’t know how to go about finding a positive story, which is kind of sad to admit. But when I found this one I knew it was exactly the sort of small story that says it all.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep: good people still exist. And furthermore, we all have bad days, but that doesn’t necessarily make us bad people. It’s hard to be pleasant when you have one of those days where every little thing seems to be so irritating. But it’s what you do about it when you recover that makes the difference. Well done, Debbie.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. I’m loving the invitation of WATWB – not only because we get to share stories of goodness, but because it encourages us to keep our eyes open for more of those same stories. Kind of like building our lovingkindness-noticing muscles.

    Maybe we can sneak in an edit of Gibb’s rule, and state the truth as I see it – it’s a sign of weakness not to apologize for bad behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah, I agree! The whole point of this project is to look for positivity out there, and now that I’ve adopted that mindset I’m good to go. Try to stop me!

      I like your edit, but I’ll leave it to you to get Gibbs to accept it. He’s kind of stuck in his ways. 😉

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  15. I was delighted to read this story also. My observations lately have been depressing because fewer and fewer people even realize that they are being rude or that they should treat baristas or wait staff as well, PEOPLE with feelings. And from what I see in the younger generation I teach, it’s going to get worse.

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    1. Margaret, that’s depressing. I think that you’re right about people not even knowing that their behavior is rude– reality TV has promoted extreme tawdriness as permissible. But I was hoping that the younger generation would be smart + polite enough to overcome TV realities. *sigh*

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  16. Good find.

    I think Gibbs is off base ~> apologies are NOT a sign of weakness, they are a sign of humanness. Apologies, when warranted, support our common humanity and connection, bringing us closer together.

    We are in this together and we are all flawed. Recognizing that allows us to be a tad less self-absorbed and strengthens us . . . because we don’t have to protect our fragile Egos.

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    1. nancy, Gibbs is nothing if not a character that is driven by his ego! I agree that apologizing is a strength– or at least it is when it’s done sincerely, and not as a way of manipulating another person.

      I appreciate that Debbie understood that she was flawed, and took appropriate measures to make things right with the barista. That is has it should be. But what kind of worries me is that Debbie is an anomaly, not the norm. Some days I dunno what to make of our society as a whole.

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  17. Love this idea. I’ve been trying to forward along good news stories on my Facebook and my Twitter feed lately, just to remind myself and everyone that there is still good in the world! Yay for this effort! Looking forward to the stories.

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    1. bnzoot, I like your idea of intentionally forwarding some good news on social media. I used to do more of that, but will admit that 45 et al have changed me and how I use social media. Now I feel like I must #resist and pass along any glint of hope that Dodgy Donald is going down, will be impeached. Which making this #WATWB an even more important event for me because it brings balance to my social media world. Thanks for stopping by to comment– you always get me thinking.

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  18. Hey Ally! Congratulations on finding a positive news story. I really thought they weren’t allowed to publish them anymore (that’s what blogs are for right?).
    And I know that this isn’t going to be as good as a $50 tip and apology note, but I agree with you on the value in offering up apologies when we screw up. In fact, I think I might owe you one…
    I’m sorry I haven’t been checking in here recently. Adulting has been particularly challenging lately. However, it’s no surprise to see that you remain in excellent company.
    Humbly yours,
    gabe

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    1. Gabe, I really thought I’d just google “positive news” and immediately find a good story. It took more effort than I thought it would, but that’s okay. I learned something in the process.

      Debbie, the customer in the story, made me reflect upon, and appreciate, how apologies make the world a happier place by smoothing over rough edges.

      I totally get the adulting thing. Some weeks/months I get so busy I don’t know which way is up– but thank you for offering an apology. Always fun to see you around here.

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    1. simonfalk28, I agree that it isn’t always easy to be courteous when out and about, doing your own thing. I know on occasion I’ve been unkind, so Debbie’s experience rang true with me. As for her apology, that’s pure grace.

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