It used to infuriate me when my husband would leave the house multiple times a day to go to Starbucks.
“We have coffee right here!” I’d argue. It didn’t matter. There was something he was getting there that he wasn’t getting at home. Like the Greek myth of the sirens, the mermaid-like creature featured on the Starbucks logo, the siren sang lost sailors to shore. Whether there was something about having the coffee handed to him or the all-inviting culture that drew him in, Starbucks became Neil’s shore.
The meaning of going to Starbucks has changed considerably over the past year. It pressed on my heart to take a moment to write Starbucks a letter to explain why.
I am writing to thank you. I used to want to write and say “Give me back my husband please!”. I can’t tell you how many times a day he would disappear to our local Starbucks for a shot of his favourite beverage! He was hooked! Then, around January/February of this year my husband started taking our daughter on dates to our local Starbucks. He would order his grande Pike, and she would get her yoghurt with berries and granola. Every Sunday morning it was their routine to start the morning at Starbucks on a date. My daughter was delighted. She really looked forward to those times.
In early March, the day before my daughter’s 2nd birthday, my husband died unexpectedly. Now thoughts of Starbucks are quite changed. My daughter and I visit our local Starbucks, maintaining the tradition he started. I order my tall Pike and my daughter still enjoys her yoghurt with granola and berries. Every time we go she remembers him and their dates, even though she was only 2 when he died.
Starbucks became the special place he took her out to, to spend quality time with her, and let her know she is treasured and valued. As I take over the reigns in this department there is something about keeping this tradition that helps us remember him. So instead of the ‘angry wife letter’ I thought I’d be sending almost a year ago asking for you to please return my husband because he was so addicted to Starbucks, I now write with gratitude to thank you for your amazing product, and customer service that drew him in because now I realize that visiting Starbucks is like meeting with him again.
Shawna (32), and Alexis (2).”
A couple days later I received this response.
“Dear Shawna and Alexis,
Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company. First off, I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your husband and father. I can’t imagine how hard things have been for the both of you. We do send our condolences.
I have to admit I was touched in reading your letter. I am happy to know that the both of you can still experience a great memory of your husband every time you come into our store. We appreciate you taking the time to write in and let us know how our store helps to keep the tradition that your husband and father started alive.
I have taken the liberty to send a $15 gift card so that your next visit will be on us. Again, I am sorry about your loss, but happy to know that you are keeping the tradition alive. We wish the both of you the best.
I sincerely appreciate your comments and hope you will continue to enjoy Starbucks coffee.”
How cool is that? And if that wasn’t enough, yesterday I received a package from FedEx from Starbucks in Seattle. When I picked up my daughter from childcare I told her that Starbucks had sent us some presents. She perked up and asked, “Is it yoghurt?” Her favourite Starbucks treat.
Packaged with a number of other goodies was another kind letter:
“…It’s humbling to hear about the joy and comfort that Starbucks brought to both your husband and your daughter, and it is not honor that we take lightly. I’m grateful to know that you and Alexis will continue to carry on this tradition.
While I know that this was not the intent of your email, we wanted to send you something special to show how grateful we are for your family’s appreciation of Starbucks.”
I imagine Alexis and I will be going to Starbucks for many, many years to come.
Starbucks has sung us a sweet song and as a tribute to them for being so very human and generous with us, we are wooed. We shout out, “Live on Starbucks. Live on.”
CLICK HERE to connect to another Starbucks tribute for their 25th anniversary in Canada. This link will connect you to a video tribute I created for them. Be sure to stay tuned at the end for the blooper reel with my daughter. Enjoy.