Starbucks can be a great place to get luxurious coffee products. But it is also a place where freelancers go to work on their projects. Whether they are writers or designers or business people, Starbucks can offer a safe place for people to drink their beverage of choice while getting work done. Yes, it is expensive at the coffee shop, but each Starbucks promises the same atmosphere. And that’s what they seem to be charging for.
Although you might assume Starbucks employees are stuck in a dead-end job, the corporation tries to empower their workers. They offer a college program that encourages baristas to continue their education, and Starbucks will even put toward that goal. And workers develop a strong sense of community among themselves and the customers whom they see every day.
Shantaphae Blakes, who works as a barista part-time at a Starbucks, works predominately as a full-time mom. It is hard work balancing all the responsibilities and getting someone to watch after her daughter, Dilynn.
But on a cold morning last month, Shantaphae called he supervisor in tears. She was ready to go to work, but at 4:30 am that morning, no one was available to watch her daughter.
21-year-old Harper Spell, the shift supervisor at the Winston-Salem, North Carolina Starbucks spoke to TODAY about what happened next.
“She was so upset,” Spell told TODAY. “(Blakes) said, ‘I have Dilynn in the back seat. Would it be OK if I came?’ I just said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I need you here. We’ll take care of Dilynn,”
When the 26-year-old mother arrived at Starbucks, she took her baby to a table. And the shift supervisor and the restaurant manager offered to be Dilynn’s “second mom” for the day. The manager needed Shantaphae on the job, but understood the reality of being a mother. She offered to help the young mother out generously.
“She was just wide-eyed, watching us,” said Spell. “We gave her a few little things to play with, something to eat, and she was good.”
Although the supervisor’s offer was unconventional, it was honest and filled with joy and love. Although Dilynn was doing well so early in the morning, the supervisor worried that the little girl would get fussy during the morning rush.
As if on cue, regular customers from the North Carolina State Troopers walked in the door. Trooper Brad Marshall wanted his morning coffee, but he also wanted to help. And because he knew that the morning rush was coming, and he did not have any pressing incidents to report to, he offered to serve his community.
“’Trooper Brad’ came in, and he offered to sit with Dilynn while we worked,” Spell said. “He stayed for over an hour. Never in a million years did I think that (a trooper) would just do that, just stay and hang around and help.”
When Shantaphae saw how well the trooper was taking care of her daughter, she was overcome with gratitude.
“It just blew me away. It was wonderful,” the mom said. “It shocked me. It made me feel so much better. It takes a village to raise a child.”