• Joseph Michelli

Splitting the Muffin

Former Starbucks store managers, Kimberly Kelly, shows how much impact SURPRISING KINDNESS can have. “There was a wonderful regular customer,” says Kimberly, “in her seventies, named Irene, who had been a teacher and a principal. She and her husband visited daily—coming to Starbucks was an event for them. The husband always had on a sport jacket, she was dressed very elegantly, and they would order the same thing: a tall coffee and an extra cup so they could split it. They’d also order one muffin and two forks and a knife to share that as well. The couple would take their coffee and their muffin and they would go slowly over to their table and spend maybe an hour or so visiting with each other and enjoying their time together.”

Kimberly said the couple stopped coming into Starbucks and she worried about them. One day she ran into Irene at a bank and Irene shared that her husband had died of a sudden heart attack. Kimberly encouraged Irene to join her back at Starbucks after she finished her banking. Kimberly continued, “Irene came to my store and when she approached the counter, she stood there and said, ‘Kimberly, I just don’t know what to order because we always shared items.’ I simply said, ‘You know what, I’m going to share that cup of coffee and that muffin with you today.’ We sat down and talked for about 30 minutes. She told me about how she missed her husband and how hard it was for her to move on. A few days later, Irene came back to my store. She was dressed in a beautiful outfit. She said, ‘I’m ready to do this by myself now.’ Irene asked if she could order a smaller cup of coffee. She took the muffin, one fork this time, and the knife.  She split the muffin and told me, ‘I guess I’ll just have to make it last for two days.’”

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