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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)

By Tiara Huffman



My first day working at starbucks was one that I will not easily forget.
I had been applying and applying continuously, not willing to give up. I wanted this job. And, after countless applications I had finally gotten a job working at my favorite coffee place. So no matter what happened that day I was going to be ecstatic. But I had no idea it would be this good.

Carrie was showing me the ropes at the cash register and I was quickly picking it all up and getting the hang of things. Though it was only 4 am, soon the morning rush would hit and I was nervous I didn’t know how well I would handled the stress of my first rush ever. I normally handled these things pretty well, but you could never be prepared to handled a big rush, and you ever know what to expect.

And sadly for me, just as I was feeling comfortable at the register for the morning rush, Carrie decided to move me to the window. But luckily for me that was were the most wonderful thing happened.

I took a deep breath preparing myself for the worst.
“Good morning, thanks for coming to starbucks what can I get you?” I said into the headset.
“Good morning to you, I’ll have a venti caramel macchiato and maple oat pecan scone.” I rang him up, gave him the total and asked him to pull please pull forward.
I then quickly relayed the order to Carrie and started taking the next one.

Just then the man pulled up. Someone was rattling in my ear their order while this man was waiting to receive his drink. He seemed almost annoyed that I was taking someone’s order and not attending to him. My heart rate picked up then as I tried to be courteous to both customers. I smiled at the man and focused on getting the other customers order right.

“Ha. Sorry long order.” I smiled giving him his total again.
“That is a pretty bracelet you have there.” The man said handing me his card.
“Thanks, it is one my church designed for our winter camp last year. The theme was ARK.”
“Ark?” he asked his eyebrows pulling together in confusing.
“Yeah, act of random kindness.” I said giving him back his card and handing him a pen to sign the receipt.
“Act of random kindness, tell me more. Like how did that come into play at camp?” his eyes questioned with a longing as his hand lazily ran the pen across the paper.
“The lessons all surrounded treating others the way you would want to be treated, and rather than giving an eye for eye, you give a hug versus a foul word.” I looked back at the cars piling up, and Carrie motioned for me to move things along. I handed the man his drink.
“Have a nice day.” I said smiling ready to get to the waiting customers. Because I had already decided I didn’t like the stress of waiting customers that were getting angrier the more they waited.
“You know what I think I will give that ARK thing a try. Here, I wanna pay for the car behind me.” he said handing me his card once again. I chuckled with amazement as I rang up his card with the other car’s charges.
“Thank you and have a good day.” I said handing him back his card.
“No, thank you,” he flashed a smile before pulling away.

When the next car pulled forward I got to watch their faces light up as I told them their drinks had been paid for. They were so surprised that they offered to pay for the person behind them. And so did the next person, and the next it just kept going. 582 cars later, the pay it forward ARK stopped. It was outstanding to see so many people be so kind to one another. It made my day, and I will never forget those 582 cars. Those 582 acts of random kindness. Remarkable.

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This article has been read 354 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amanda Brogan04/28/11
Reminds me of something they used to promote on a radio station I listened to. They called it "The Drive-Thru Difference Day," where participants would pay for the car behind them. It was always neat to hear the stories, both from people who joyfully gave and people who delightedly received. One little act of kindness can make a big difference.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/01/11
I really enjoyed this story. I felt nervous as the MC was anxious.I remembered my early days on a new job. I love the idea of ARK. It's cool to see how many nice people are out in the world.

I do have a tiny bit of red ink for you, remember to capitalize proper nouns like Starbucks.

Also double space between paragrapghs including when a new person starts talking. That extra white space makes a huge difference.

Lastly, you have a good start on lowering the number of tags like said, but you can do more to help the showing vs. telling that all writers struggle with. For example in this sentence:
"That is a pretty bracelet you have there.” The man said handing me his card.
If you take out the said and change handing to handed, you create more of a picture.

I know my comments sound little and nitpicky, but it can change a good story into a great one. You definitely have a natural gift for storytelling. Your story is one everyone can relate to plus you slipped in an outstanding message without coming across as preachy. Nice job!

Shelley Ledfors 05/05/11
What a blessing ARK's can be! I loved the theme of this story. Another way (besides Shann's comments) you might a good story better is to use stronger, more active verbs (fewer was's). Thanks so much for sharing this. I enjoyed it!
Kathleen Langridge05/05/11
Tiara, great story and with the changes mentioned by Shelley and Shann it would really flow. I know the whole 'show vs tell' gets old but it really sparks things up. I love the ARK concept, I will remember that.