ONE GOOD DEED...
Have you ever done something simply out of kindness for someone and then realized later the unexpected benefit to yourself that it brought?
A lot of you readers of my blog already know about the nasty ice storm that swept across Iowa this past weekend. I heard at one point, because of the 250 miles of downed powerlines, there were as many as 120,000 homes without power starting Saturday afternoon. As I write this, according to our local utility web site, there are still roughly 30,000 without power almost 5 days later.
Monday evening, during my evening shift at Starbucks, a regular customer came through the drive thru to get her daily 3 Venti Cinnamon Dolce Lattes on her way to her night shift at a local factory here in Cedar Rapids. I noticed that she wasn't driving her usual vehicle. I asked her where her car was, which started an entire conversation about the awful few days she's been having because of the ice storm. Her car was at home frozen to the ground because of all the ice that had accumulated on and around where it was parked. She had also been without power, heat and water since Saturday. The whole small town where she lives, just outside of Cedar Rapids, was without power and people were being advised to leave their homes and go to community shelters because storm # 2 is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday evening, likely delaying power restoration for at least several more days.
Well, that would be a viable option for her and her husband if it weren't for their 11 dogs at home. She is a warm, caring person with a serious soft spot in her heart for animals. She's never been able to turn away a stray and she loves them all as if they were her children. So, they have been struggling at home with no heat and power for days because they have to take care of their dogs and finding a place to go with 11 dogs in tow would be impossible.
After she got her drinks and left, I felt so bad for her. I wanted to help somehow, but what could I do?
I was scheduled for a Tuesday evening shift as well this week. A few hours into the evening, I had an idea. I told Christina, our store manager about our favorite customer's unfortunate situation and asked if we could at least give her her drinks for free tonight just to show her we do care about her and are thinking of her. Christina agreed and together we decided we could do a little better than that. We bagged up several breakfast pastries for her to take home and even filled a small bag full of dog treats to take home to her "children". At around 9:15 pm, as usual, she arrived. We exchanged hello's throught the speaker and I told her we'd have her usual for her at the window. When she reached the drive thru window, I handed her the bag full of pastries and showed her the doggy treats and told her that her $14.00 worth of drinks were on the house tonight. I explained how glad we were to see her every night and that we all wanted to do something for her, as little as it may be, to let her know we were thinking of her. Then, completely by surprise to me, her eyes welled up with tears. We had truly touched her with that simple, seemingly insignificant gesture. We had really lifted her spirit and made a small difference in her week.
The benefit to her was obvious, but the benefit to me...? It made me feel great for the rest of the evening. It actually put ME in a better mood and made me realize that my 14 hour work day that day was nothing compared to what she had been and still is going through at home.
I love my Starbucks job!