Unsweetened Black Iced Tea with a Splash of Authenticity

brail-sbux-cardFor a lot of people, including me, Starbucks is an oasis at the beginning, middle or early afternoon of a busy day. No matter where we are, a Starbucks feels familiar, comforting and satisfying, even if a complicated, over-priced latte isn’t your thing. That smiley green mermaid greets you with something familiar, comforting and satiating. (Why is she a mermaid, actually a Siren, you ask? I researched it: An effort to capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle!)

For me, “my Starbucks” often is a place to connect with my women friends. If we’re lucky enough to grab a comfy, leather couch or big chairs, we can sit and chat, reconnect and disconnect from the frazzled lives we all experience. Sometimes it’s a tight 20 minutes, sometimes it’s a luxurious 2 hours, which also would include a free refill, of course. I love my “Tea Dates” with some of the most important women in my life, and I love the excitement of new “Mom Dates” there and even “Networking Dates.”

Recently I popped into my Starbucks and was greeted with a smile – as usual by the Sarahs (there are 3 at any given time), a Jacob D (not to be confused with my kiddo’s friend because this one is my beloved barista who nails my drink every time) and Marla (who for a while was dubbed Maria in song by a friend of mine because the chalky nametag did her parent-given name no justice). On this particular day I was on the go, so no “date” was involved, but I took a few extra minutes to chat with the gang about something that really struck me.

Right there in front of the fun display at checkout was a stack of gift cards in braille! Not sure why it was so surprising and pleasing to me, but then I thought about it for a moment. How many times a day do you buy something at retail and see a pile or little book case of gift cards? I realized that I probably see dozens of stacks of gift cards each week as I run around town doing errands and spending money, and I have NEVER seen one in braille. Never!

My kiddos recently had a special event at school called RED Week – Respect Each person’s Differences. At school and at home, they talked about physical, emotional, learning and social differences. And we talked about how we could make things easier for those around us who have differences that make things more challenging than they are for us.

I told my kiddos that evening about my special Starbucks run, and we had a nice chat about how seemingly little things that I’ve never noticed (Starbucks has had these cards for a few years already!) can make a big impact for people.

That morning my unsweetened black iced tea came with a splash of authenticity instead of lemonade. As I scanned my app and earned my stars, I saw RED Week lessons come to life right there at my mid-morning.mid-day oasis.

Bravo, Starbucks!!




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