Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 10~ The Art of Kindness (and lack-thereof)

I thought it was really cool that Starbucks got involved in an effort to help encourage their customers to pay "it" forward. I heard about it on the radio and according to the CEO, he wanted to "show" congress and the government how this idea of passing along kindness and generosity is better than posturing and arguing.

It started Wednesday and ended today.

For two weeks I have had two Starbucks gift cards in my wallet and after I heard about this effort, I thought I would use my cards to purchase myself and someone else a coffee.

My experience was far from extraordinary. Not inspiring whatsoever.
It was downright horrible. Yet still a learning experience.
The polar opposite of what I hoped to be moving.
And all I wanted was to be back in one of my favorite local Coffee houses (SPLAT! or Queen Bee, or Caravan).

But I was there. In that moment. In Starbucks.

I greeted the cashier with a smile. No return was made (That's okay, maybe a bad day or something)

I asked her about the kindness effort and she said, "sorry it ended today." ( I thought, well today is still today last time I checked. ) Yep, my inner sarcastic voice started talking.

I asked her how the effort had been going and she said she knew nothing of it until yesterday and had no idea how it went. ( Ok, so maybe she was busy with other things.")

Then, I asked her if the new Chocolate Chai Latte was good. She said she didn't like it all because it tasted like chocolate and gingerbread. And she HATED chocolate and gingerbread. (That's fair--- not everyone is a chai fan, but this girl LOVES it).

I ordered it anyway.
I'm not so sure she liked that.

Thus began the wait as the chai was made by the anti-chai barista.

I watched her. I prayed for her. I watched the way she interacted with the other barista. Not too nice.

I started thinking  of how I could pass something on so she can see kindness in front of her face.

I reached into my wallet and got out the other gift card and asked her to give it to the next customer.
She said, "thanks." ( notice I did not use an exclamation point)

The next customer steps up. She must have known him. They smiled. Threw happy exchanges back and forth. Discussed how it is time for flannel. That did make me smile, because I was wearing it myself.

But the gift card didn't move. I watched the customer swipe his card. And the act of kindness laid there quietly beside her on the counter.

Maybe it was used after I left. Maybe not. I will never know. But I'm still praying for that girl. I'm praying for someone to show her kindness and for her to feel it and know it and want to share it.

I have been to plenty of Starbucks' where the workers are kind and wonderful and happy.
But on this particular day, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth that no Chai tea could cover.

So what's the point in this experience?
Well, here's my takeway.

1. Kindness doesn't need a date. Make it a point everyday-- not just when a company declares it.
2. Almost always, local is better! Which is why I will continue to be loyal to the locals.
3. Pray for people who don't share in the kindness you show.
4. Order a Chocolate Chai, even if the Barista hates it.

Yesterday, I stopped by Splat! on my way to work, and one of my favorite Barista's asked me if I had ever heard of Amy Carmichael. I wasn't sure. She went on to tell me of her mission work and her dedication to serving the homeless. I love learning. I love local coffee. And I love how Jesus teaches me things everywhere I go, even in Starbucks.

I will leave you with a quote from Amy Carmichael.

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” 
 Amy Carmichael

Pass some love tomorrow friends and find some art in your heart.

Until tomorrow,


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