I was having a rough day yesterday. My major year-end gift appeal was held up at every stage - from computer issues to printing issues to micro-editing boss issues, I was just plain exhausted. And, while I knew the end was in sight, I also knew there was a lengthy holiday line at the post office. So, I decided to grab an Espresso Truffle at my Starbucks drive-through to enjoy while I waited to buy stamps.
I was just about to turn into the drive-through line when you cut in front of me, turning in quickly from the opposite direction. I didn't particularly care, since technically you did have the right of way, but it did put me a few more minutes further from the finish line. Finally, it was your turn at the window.
That's when I started to get annoyed. It took you quite some time to pay, and it looked like you were hovering at the window, making merry conversation. "Hey, lady," I thought, "now is definitely not the time to be chatting up the barista. Get a move on!"
As I finally pulled up to the window, that barista handed over my Espresso Truffle with a big smile and said, "Happy Holidays from the lady in front of you! She felt horrible for cutting in front of you in line, so she bought your coffee. Enjoy!"
I quickly glanced around the parking lot to find you, and I laughed as I watched you drive past, window rolled down, yelling "I"m so sorry!" and waving apologetically.
Starbucks Angel, you made my day. Better still, you renewed my joy for this holiday season. I've felt burdened recently by the gift-giving part of Christmas. We're paring down this year, and I've worried about the reaction from family members when they give our kids three gifts each, and we only give their kids one gift each.
But yesterday, you reminded me that it's called gift-GIVING, not gift-RECEIVING, for good reason. I'm reminded of a quote I read recently from the Baghavad Gita, a sacred Hindu scripture:
"A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return."
You lived this truth for me yesterday, and for that I thank you and offer my warmest wishes for a very merry Christmas.
P.S. Readers, help me pay it forward this holiday season - next time you're at Starbucks, order one of their signature holiday drinks, and buy one for the customer behind you, too. Starbucks will donate 5 cents from every beverage sold to the Global Fund to help save lives in Africa. Learn more at www.starbucks.com.