Tag Archives: Coffee

ARK in Austin

On a beautiful Saturday morning, I went to Starbucks to get my caffeine fix for the day. Everything was fine, normal, and actually boring until a car cut in front of me in the drive-thru lane. I didn’t know you could do that but it happened. What a way to start the day! Someone has apparently removed the orange traffic cones on the corner that were supposed to keep peace and order in this little community.

Now we have chaos. I was miffed.

I almost honked my horn, when a confused beautiful girl came out of the car, replaced the cones, and gave me a nice apologetic smile. Aha, the culprit! Thanksgiving just passed, Christmas is coming, and the end of the semester is approaching. After a mental flip coin, I decided to let it go, smile, keep my cool, and let the car proceed.

I didn’t think much about this incident afterwards. With Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby in the background, I realized it was no big deal. Christmas music just has a special way of putting me in merrier spirits. So I ordered my normal drink and pulled to the counter to pay for my caffeine  addiction.

I was handing cash to the barista, when in a very sweet manner she pointed to the car in front that was driving away and said, “They paid for your drink. Have a happy thanksgiving.”

So the people in front of me, the very same folks who just cut in line, gave me a free drink. That was totally unexpected and even as I write this post and finish that cup of coffee I still can’t believe it happened. Overwhelmed. Thankful. Speechless. That’s how I felt as I drove away from the counter, sipping coffee freely given by a thoughtful stranger.

I’ve heard about stories like this on the radio, but it has never happened to me until this day. In Austin last year, there were so many pay it forward stories on the air that I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. But now, I’m a believer. Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) do happen and some times in the most unexpected places and situations. This just warmed my heart and encouraged me so much. I am grateful, not only because of the free coffee, but because people, in spite of the pressures of this world, still know how to give and bless others. This is such a great reminder, especially for this season.

I wonder if things would have turned out differently if I frowned on that girl and did not let them pass. I wonder if instead of a nice morning, I would have ruined it for everybody. I still think about this sweet encounter and realize that this shows how the little things really do make the difference. A simple smile, a humble perspective, a grateful heart, go a long way.

Now, if I can only let somebody pass in front of me when paying for tuition at McCombs that would be a huge ARK I’d be forever thankful for. I can only imagine my reaction. I see a few high jumps happening. But jokingly aside, the point is in this season of thanksgiving and cheer, small acts of random kindness go a long way in making a positive change.

The strangers on that car may never know who I am, what my name is, or how much what they did meant to me. But on this day, they put a smile on my face and reminded me to keep paying forward.

That’s a memorable impact and one that would stay with me for a while.

While you were sleeping…

W. A. Mozart (1756-1791) Any place named after a virtuoso like Mozart gets my stamp of approval!

…I was probably drinking coffee.

Therefore, we have the theme for my first official blog of the 2011-2012 school year.

It’s great to be back in this mode too! If you have read my blogs before, I profoundly apologize. If you haven’t, now you get a double shot from me as you read my thoughts about life and the Texas MPA Program.

Favorite Coffee Places
Those that know me know I love my coffee in the morning…and with lunch, in the late afternoon, with dinner, in the early evening, and in the late evening. I have my favorites—I’m not gonna lie. Here they are and why, in no particular order:

Mozart’s—especially after interning, I got into the glorious habit of studying outside. Whether it was on the roof of the SAC, at George’s Patio Café, or at Mozart’s.
Mozart’s is great because it is conducive to both studying and socializing, something I can’t say for all coffee places. Nevertheless, I’m always in favor of being able to soak in the sight of Lake Austin, drink some hot coffee, and either chat or read.

Bennu Coffee Shop—this is definitely in the hipster neighborhood, and they definitely have some hip coffee! In addition to having an entire menu named after literature, this place is open 24/7, which makes it a very convenient place to crash for a loooong time. Try the Raven or the Don Quixote! Oh, and yes, those are power strips coming out of the ceiling for your laptop!

 Epoch—this is the North campus version of Bennu; open 24/7. Come here and do some “epoch” studying! (Bad pun? That’s my  forte…)

Spiderhouse Coffee—this is one of my favorite places, but not for studying. This is undoubtedly the place to chill on old-school metal patio furniture and reminisce with an old friend. The lethargic pace of service makes this perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Continue reading While you were sleeping…