Many people are aware of my preference for Dutch Bros Coffee--if you haven't heard of them or tried their beverages, you better get on it.
There is more than one reason why I love this little chain.
The coffee is deliciously smooth, of course (especially the famous Irish Kicker, in any type of temperature), and it's awesome that they are always enthusiastic about offering Samson a free dog treat if he is in the backseat, but I find their friendly customer service is tops compared to many big name coffee shops.
However, now I have an even better reason to visit this drive-thru more often.
A couple days after I had heard the tragic news of a fatal plane crash that involved four young people whom my friends and I knew mutually, my heart and mind were in an odd, mixed state of shock and grief.
I stopped by a local Dutch Bros shop on the way home for "two-stamp Tuesday," hoping it would lighten my mood a bit to fill up my stamp card.
When I pulled up to the window, the young man behind the counter cheerfully requested my order, and I placed it while also handing him my stamp card and form of payment for him to charge.
At this, he put his hand up and nonchalantly said "no, don't worry about it; it's on me today."
Now it is fairly normal for Dutch Bros employees to be playful and joking, but this guy seemed very serious:
Me: What do you mean?
Him: I got you covered. On the house.
Me: Why? Is there something special going on today?
Him (shrug and smile): No, I just wanna get your drink today, is that OK?
Me: Yeah, alright...thank you. Wow. Couldn't be better timing.
Him (leaning closer on the counter): Oh yeah? What's going on?
Me: Well, the short story is that I lost four friends in the Sedona plane crash over the weekend. Not sure if you're a praying person, but the families could definitely use your prayers.
Him: I'm not particularly religious, no, but I do believe in talking to whoever is out there, for sure. That really stinks; I've been there. Lost my grandpa a couple years ago and it was the hardest thing for me.
Me: Really? I'm sorry...Yeah...I have my faith and that's what gives me peace and gets me through.
Him: Well that's good. OK, so your drink is ready...what was your name?
Him: Anissa? I'm D.J. And, I know it isn't much, but here's your drink, and another full stamp card for you to get another free drink on us next time. You keep your head up, because everything is going to get better. I hope you have a great day, alright?
I was touched. I'm not usually an emotional person, but this gesture nearly brought me to tears.
Throat tight, bottom lip quivering, I managed to nod and utter a sincere "thank you" to D.J. and slowly drove away before the tears started falling.
All I could think, and say aloud, was "God, bless that young man dearly. He has no idea what impact he just made."
For all I know, he was new and his boss had told him to treat a few customers extra special that day, but it doesn't really matter to me, because nothing really could spoil the magic of that moment.
Dutch Bros has great coffee, and it tastes even better free, but obviously the key in all this is that God used this employee to show me He was thinking of me and reminding me that He is my Comforter and my Friend when my heart is heavy and aching.
This was simply a God thing--only He really knows how to work in the smallest ways to speak to us in the loudest volumes.
I just had to give the Lord credit; it wouldn't be fair to dismiss His small act of love and then go on looking for bigger ones. I think recognizing His little gifts and wonders opens us up to a vaster sky of big possibilities and blessings.
If nothing else, I hope this personal experience is an inspiration to you and helps you identify God working in finite ways in your own life.
D.J., if you ever somehow see this, thank you again, and I know God has something good coming your way.
Reason #10 to visit your nearest Dutch Bros Coffee location: As you can also see above, another perk from Dutch Bros is the fun yet encouraging phrases imprinted into the hot drink lids:
Labels: 2014, blessing, Christianity, Dutch Bros Coffee, encouragement, free drink, God's protection, gratefulness, Irish Kicker, let God use you, little things, spiritually speaking, two-stamp Tuesday, unexpected gift