Java Gratis

It went a little something like this…

I’m standing in line at the Starbucks at the corner of Racine and Wrightwood when I realize how grimy my personal cup is looking.  Then I realize how grimy I am looking – opting for an extra 20 minutes of sleep over a shower to rinse away yesterday’s windblown look.  Sheepishly I hand my cup to the barista for my daily grande bold and, kindly, she begins to rinse the cup out for me.  Baristas are nice, I used to be one.

“Um, I’m going to take this in the back and run it through the sanitizer,” she smiles at me.

Oh my gosh, I’m mortified.  My cup is so gross and she’s noticed.  “Thank you, I really appreciate it.”  I apologize for my disgustingness.  Seriously, moments like these I wonder if I’m actually an adult or really still a kid who the State of Illinois somehow gave a license to by mistake.

“It will just be a minute.”  I come to this Starbucks several times a week and they know me.  They know my drink.  They know my sick-ass personal cup that not only saves me $0.10 per overpriced drink but also makes me feel like I’m doing my daily part for this Earth of ours.

I step over to the side, hanging my head in shame, and allow other (clean) patrons to order their morning fuel.

“I’m so sorry,” the barista tells me, “just another minute, it’s almost done.”

“No, it’s fine.  Thank you.”  Why is she sorry?

A minute later she reappears with my now clean cup (oh, it’s clear plastic – I’d forgotten!) and an orange slip of paper.  “I’m so sorry,” she tells me again, “it just slipped out of my hands!  But it’s not cracked or anything,” she holds up the cup for me to inspect.

I’m confused.  “Thank you so much for cleaning it, it was so dirty, I know.”  I’m stammering.

“Really, I’m so sorry.”  Okay, is this a joke?  “At least is wasn’t full when I dropped it.”  She smiles.  “Here, your next drink is on us.”  She hands me the orange slip of paper.

Suddenly I get it.  “No, it’s fine, not a problem.  Thank you!”

I walk out into the brisk autumn morning and smile.  A clean cup and a free drink coming my way.  And I got 20 extra minutes of sleep.  Today’s off to a good start.

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