Food

Starbucks barista gets apology note and $50 from rude customer

Irritated by the lack of drink carriers at a Starbucks drive-thru, one California customer gave her barista a bit of sass this week — and then returned the next day with an apology letter and $50 bill.

Courtesy Andrew Richardson/Starbucks
A customer who thought she had been "less than cheerful" returned to Starbucks the next day with this apologetic letter.

Her barista, Andrew Richardson, 20, was stunned when the woman, named Debbie, showed up at his drive-thru window Tuesday, asking if he had been working the day before, then proceeded to apologize and hand him a card.

After she drove off, he found $50 in the card and a handwritten note, apologizing for a "less than cheerful encounter," recognizing that "at no fault of yours, you were out of carriers and said you could not take my empty cup (trash)." (Richardson could not handle the trash due to state health-code regulations.)

The letter continued, "I was less than understanding and my manner was curt. I need to apologize. The thought of leaving a trail of unkindness like that is so not the path I want to reflect...You are a young man, clearly working hard to build a future and you should be commended." (Read the letter in its entirety at the bottom of this article.)

Debbie must be nicer than she gives herself credit for — Richardson said in a press statement that he remembers her being "mildly irritated" but "still pleasant" to him. "It was like two on a scale of 10 for me."

Located in Bishop, CA, the coffee shop is the only Starbucks in the small city of roughly 3,900 people, which sits on the slopes of the stunning Eastern Sierra Mountains.

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Courtesy Andrew Richardson/Starbucks
Made my day! Starbucks barista Andrew Richardson shows off the kind note he received from a customer.

Richardson was so touched by her gesture, that he took to Reddit, where his post took on a life of its own and went viral. He also gave advice on how to deal with "less than cheerful" people: "I just try to be super nice back to them. It works as a nice counterattack."

In a field like customer service, where a negative interaction can hang over your head for days, the woman's kind action was not just appreciated by Richardson, but by fellow employees, and, seemingly, workers everywhere.

By far, most of the customers who come in are very friendly, Donna Smalley, store manager and Richardson's boss, told TODAY Food. "Obviously, she was having a bad day. I think it's phenomenal what she did," Smalley said, adding that Richardson, who has worked in the shop for two years, is a "great" employee. "We appreciate him."

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Here is Debbie's letter in its entirety:

"Greetings Starbuck Barista! Yesterday at your drive thru we had a less than cheerful encounter. At no fault of yours, you were out of carriers & said you could not take my empty cup (trash). I was less than understanding & my manner was curt. I need to apologize. The thought of leaving a trail of unkindness like that is so not the path I want to reflect. Not for you, not for me. You are a young man, clearly working hard to build a future & you should be commended. Keep up your attitude of cheer & hope. Stay hopeful no matter what kind of people cross your path (or drive thru). Surly(sic) God has good blessing (sic) in store. You taught this ole lady something yesterday about kindness, compassion & staying humble. I thank you. God bless you, today & all your days. Debbie"

"At the end of the day, I'm glad that her kind act was acknowledged," Richardson wrote on Reddit.

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