Just four more days. Wow…time flies when you are having fun (and scrambling to get everything ready for Tuesday’s celebration!) Lots of recipients and blog followers have RSVP’d for the event. It will surely be an interesting evening. Some donations are coming in for the raffle and auction, but still no primary sponsor. Hmmm….it looks like I am the primary sponsor 😉
Here in DC it seems like Starbucks cafes are everywhere. I think you can walk to five of them within ten minutes of my house. Oh, before I go on, let me go back to the sponsorship item really quick since I mentioned Starbucks. I actually thought they would be a very interesting sponsor. I have given my $10 away at several Starbucks locations, have given to employees, and happen to frequent their establishment quite often myself. In addition, the Year of Giving is all about bringing people together, connecting our community. I’m guessing that if you ask Starbucks what their business is, I doubt they’d say it was making coffee…but providing a much bigger holistic service that had more to do with bringing people together. Maybe not, just a guess. But anyway, nothing from them yet…although that’s not for a lack of trying.
Cliff nimbly maneuvers over the curb.
Anyway, do you ever think about how is that every morning a place like Starbucks has everything it needs to quench your cravings? It’s because of people. It’s because of great people like Cliff who I ran into on the night before Thanksgiving. I guess I could say Thanksgiving Eve, but that sounds weird to me. Anyway, he was hard at work around 10:30pm at the Starbucks closest to my apartment.
I walked around to the back of his truck where he was pulling a dozen crates off at a time with a dolly and then rolling them into the cafe. Each one was full with fresh milk, coffee beans, pastries, you name it. “I don’t work for Starbucks directly, but they’re the only account I service,” Cliff told me as he heaved the dolly up over the curb. “You build up some muscles doing this,” he added with a half smiling half grimacing expression. He rolled the dolly around the side of the truck, opened the door, and backed into the now dimly lit coffee haven. It was weird to see someone inside a dark completely empty Starbucks. Usually they are brightly lit with an even flow customers percolating in and out.
He came back with an empty dolly ready to load up another set of crates. Cliff was very friendly and willing to speak with me although he told me he used to be more reserved and kept to himself. I found that hard to believe based on my encounter with him.
“It usually takes me about 10-12 hours to do my shift,” he said. Starbucks goes through a lot of product. He told me something like that he delivered some 686 units of milk each day, and I can’t remember if that is total or per store. I’m guessing total, but I just did a quick search and it seems like it is possible that that figure is per store if he delivers every other day.
“I’m a very happily married man,” the 44-year-old from Maryland told me. “I’ve got two girls and two boys; been married for 18 years.” I asked if he was going to be spending Thanksgiving with the entire family and he said only one of his kids would be home, “The others are all grown and have their own families.”
Cliff is a solid guy, not only personality-wise but also physically. Let’s put it this way, you wouldn’t want to have to wrestle him to get your coffee every morning. He’s recently been focusing on his health. “I’ve been working on my weight,” he shared. “I’ve lost 40 pounds…you see I’m diabetic,” he told me as he muscled another load over the curb. “I got 20 more pounds to go to reach my goal of 200.” That’s quite an achievement to lose 40 pounds.
I waited for him while he disappeared again and delivered the goods. I looked at the lined walls of the interior of the truck. It was full of all kinds of goodies. My mind slipped into a dream-like state and I envisioned myself driving the truck around giving all the homeless people I have met this year some hot coffee and pastries.
I needed to get on the road to Pennsylvania and I’m sure Cliff was getting sick of chatting with me. He came back and I asked him what he was going to do with his money. “I’m going to give it to my wife,” he said grinning like a child. “A man’s got to provide for his wife and family.” I shook Cliff’s hand and invited him to the Year of Giving Anniversary Celebration this Tuesday. “I might have to work that night,” he said. “But let’s see.” I started to walk away and he added one last thing, “I’m going to tell my wife about this. She’s gonna love it.”
I walked back to my apartment, got in my car and began the two-hour drive to Mechanicsburg to spend Thanksgiving with my father.
Read Full Post »