Thanks for the Good Cry Starbucks. Twice.

Dear Brooke, Dave, Andie, Sean, Nicole, and Amanda from the Hy-Vee Starbucks in Brookings, S.D.,

I hope your parents read this, and your managers and the store owners. Because they will be proud of you. Your parents will know they raised you well – well enough to go off into the world and make a difference. Your employers will know that the culture they instill in employees is worth every effort.

I am not part of the regular Saturday crowd at Starbucks so you didn’t know me. I am part of the drop-the-kids-at-school-and-get Starbucks-before-you-go-to-work-crowd, and I can’t wait to share with your manager (Karen Andersen) what you’ve done!

Thank you for the brownies that morning. Thank you for the $100 Hy-Vee gift card that you gave to my family.

You were moved by my story.

But I want people to be moved by yours. You taught my kids a lesson about thoughtfulness and unexpected gifts of compassion. And I am grateful.

For those of you who are curious, here is a fairly short and sweet version of the story.

On Friday, 1 July, a severe storm ripped through our 22-acre, rural Minnesota property; demolishing most everything except our house. My kids and I were at home.

The car was in the garage. The roof is now in the grove and the garage doors are wrapped around trees.

The barn crashed down. It was an earlier 1900s dairy barn.

Our barn the day after the storm

A silo toppled over onto a semi trailer.

And another…

The workshop blew away.

And the fallen silos crushed everything in the workshop. If you look closely below, you can see our buried ATV. (An Arctic Cat two-passenger that we LOVED and they don’t make anymore.)

Oh, and one of my saddest moments was extracting my old Honda Shadow.

Here’s where our heavenly “luck” came into play. Three large trees, any one of them would’ve crushed half of our house, were ripped out of the ground. But all three landed strategically around the house. One of them kicked over the propane tank, so that was super scary but other than the siding being cracked by debris and our front door shattering, the house is ok.

The good news: our beloved redneck (Intex) pool survived! The bad news: although it survived the winds, the pump and filter was powered from the garage so we ended up losing it anyway.

Back to the Starbucks crew. The storm happened late in the afternoon so we picked up what we could and salvaged items from the garage until it got dark. Since we didn’t have power, Jason stayed at the house and the kids and I spent the night in Brookings.

In the morning, we stopped at Hy-Vee to get a few things for our morning clean-up crew (our amazing families) and we stopped at Starbucks on the way out. It was the beginning of the long Fourth of July weekend so everyone was buzzing about their plans at the lake, picnics, fireworks, etc.

When the barista asked us what fun things we had planned for the weekend, I calmly explained that we were beginning a very long clean-up process from a storm hitting our property. Other than being anxious to get my coffee and get out of there, I don’t think I was very emotional but once the Starbucks employees heard what happened, they were very sympathetic and asked if they could give us some free brownies to brighten our morning. The sheer kindness from these young employees broke me and I cried. It was very touching and my kids were witness to a random act of kindness.

So why did I get all teary-eyed at Starbucks a second time? A few weeks later, the kids and I were making a rushed trip into Hy-Vee to grab a few items and get home. We buzzed passed the Starbucks kiosk and were headed to the dairy section when I thought I heard someone yelling my name. I finally turned back to see Brooke, from Starbucks, following us. She said they had been waiting for a long time to see us again and she was so happy we were there.

You see, Brooke, Dave, Andie, Sean, Nicole, and Amanda had been so touched by what had happened to our place that they put their money together to purchase us a gift card to the Hy-Vee grocery store. A $100 gift card! They didn’t know my name so they had gone back through the garbage that morning to get my name off the receipt. You guessed it, teary-eyed again. That gift card was extremely appreciated. Cleaning up from a storm costs A LOT of money and this helped us pay for some gas and bottles of water and some food for the weekends when people were here helping us.

I’m not sure which of you gave us the card that day but I asked her to write the names down of the employees who contributed to the gift card. I found out it was Brooke who gave us the gift card that day but she hadn’t included her name on the list. And although this comes a couple months later, I sincerely thank you. Your actions speak louder than words, and my kids and I will never forget the kindness you showed our family.

Thank you. Staci

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  1. Staci,
    So proud of the kids at starbucks. It just shows that a little kindness goes a long way. Kind words and actions are what we try and teach our children. Proud of you Andie for taking the time to listen and act. Becky (Andies Mom)

  2. Staci,

    I went to college out of state, so I no longer work at the Brookings Starbucks. But I’m sitting here in my dorm at Ole Miss (The University of Mississippi), and I saw Andrea had posted this on my Facebook wall. I immediately started crying when I was reading your blog post. I cant tell you how happy I am that our gift helped your family, we all would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Hope all is well,


    1. Sean–thank you, thank you! As it turns out, your family is a neighbor to a good friend of mine–Tracey and Chad D. She said you are a great young man and that your whole family is kind and caring. So she was not surprised at all when she read your story. Good luck at school this year! Staci

  3. Staci–
    My daughter just sent this too me… So sorry for what happened to you! But just an FYI…. Brooke is Mona Boone’s daughter….. ;). They are wonderful kids and a fabulous group at Starbucks!!!

    1. I don’t think any of us had ever expected to receive this kind of recognition but I would like to take the time to say thank you to you as well. It warms our hearts knowing that we were able to help you and your family after something so devastating. Everyone was so willing to help out when we first mentioned your story and we have all been so touched by this as well. It’s a great reminder that every act of kindness can go a long way. Thank you for sharing your story with us it will always stand out in my mind as one of the great privileges I had of being a Starbucks Barista. It was so great to have met you, we’ll keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

      – Sincerely Brooke

  4. Staci,
    Starbucks is not a company of just coffee. It’s about making friendships, making a day better, and doing whatever we can to help change a life! This act of kindness came from the heart….I couldn’t stand seeing you and your children hurt like that. And we are so glad that we could do that for you! I hope you guys enjoyed the brownies, and your pikes place coffee’s you received on that devastating day. Its the least we could do.

    Philippians 2:3-7 – “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

    We may just be the baristas in your local hyvee, but we hope to live as friends forever!


    1. Hi Andrea! Thank you for the kind words and for sharing a very fitting verse from the Bible. I can’t believe you remebered that I also filled a thermos of Pike’s Place for Jason that morning! Since we didn’t have power, he didn’t get his morning coffee. 🙂 Thanks for making our day better! Staci

  5. What a great story of human kindness! It was hard to look at your pictures. We too live on a farm and each time a storm rolls through we are saying a thousand prayers! I spent four wonderful years in Brookings, SD attending SDSU (there wasn’t a Starbucks when I was there). The community there is a gem.

    I’m glad I found your blog through the MN Blog Conference. I love what you are writing about! I too am a baker.

    1. Hi Emily! It’s so nice to meet you. I’ve checked out your website ( and your blog and you all seem so lovely! Interestingly enough, our neighbors are family dairy farmers and they suffered extensive damage to their operations, and lost one home on the properties. We are very thankful none of us were hurt since we were all home. I’m glad you enjoyed Brookings. That’s where I grew up but I have a deep appreciation for MN, too. 🙂 I was thrilled to share this story with everyone!

  6. I’m so sorry that your property was devastated by this storm but thankful that your home was spared and that no one was hurt. The people at Starbucks and the five mentioned in this post are a testament that a little bit of caring goes a long, long way.
    Thank you for sharing this story and bringing these wonderful people to our attention.

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