Every year, when I travel to the West Coast, there are certain places I like to stop: Mo’s for homemade bread and clam chowder, Syzygy for clothes and jewelry, Tillamook Cheese Factory for ice cream, the Blue Heron French Cheese Company, and Dutch Bros. Coffee.
My face lights up and my voice gets a little excited when I talk about these places. This year, however, Dutch Bros. gets the prize for making my morning.
Dutch Bros. was founded in 1992 by two former dairy farmer brothers in southern Oregon. It is America’s largest privately-owned drive-thru coffee company with 210 locations in seven western states. Their blue-roofed buildings with windmill logos are a familiar part of the landscape in many western towns.
I needed a mocha for the road as I left Springfield, Oregon, heading north. I pulled into Dutch Bros. — the one near the entry to I-5. “What would you like this morning,” asked the girl at the window.
“I don’t know exactly how to order here, but I’d like a mocha frappaccino — one that’s slushie like a milkshake,” I said.
“We can make one for you,” she said. “What size would you like?”
I quickly glanced at the menu board. “16 ounces.”
“Do you have a card?” she asked.
“No, I only come here once a year,” I replied.
“And today’s the day!” she exclaimed, with as much excitement and glee as a high school cheerleader.
“Today’s the day!!” I said back to her.
“Wow!! Where are you from that you only get here once a year?”
“Tennessee,” I replied. “We don’t have Dutch Bros. where I live.”
We chatted a bit more, while she made my drink. She was genuinely happy I had showed up at her place of business on this cold foggy morning. Though I was one of several cars in line, she acted like I was the only one who mattered.
When I remember my other annual stops at Dutch Bros. in Oregon towns I’ve always been greeted with friendliness and caring and engagement. It seems a rare treat these days. If such employee behavior was common in most businesses there would be no reason to remember it, because it wouldn’t be remarkable.
“Today’s the day!” Her words caused me to consider the uniqueness of that particular morning: my anticipated drive through country I love, my brother’s family whom I had just left after a four-day visit, my later-in-the-day visit with friends, my long-awaited time on the Oregon Coast that feeds my soul, and that I am exactly where I want to be, doing what I love to do.
Today’s the day.
Ponder for a moment . . .
– the uniqueness of this moment and place
– the blessings of yesterday
– the anticipation of things to come
– the gift of being where you are and doing what you do
Until next Tuesday . . .