Latte Love: ‘I married my Starbucks barista’

He first saw her through the window.

She seemed to walk by a Chicago Starbucks store around the same time every evening. Inside, shift supervisor Othy Schwering smiled and waved as she passed by.

“There was just something about her. I’d look at her and hear the song Dream Weaver in the background and see glitter filling the air around her,” said Othy. “I’m getting nervous right now because I’m reliving it.”

It’s handy that Starbucks baristas write customers’ names on their cups because as the mystery woman came in for coffee, Othy learned a little more about her. His hands shook a bit the first time he wrote J-a-n-a on a tall cup and made a nonfat vanilla latte for her.

Months went by, with Jana stopping into Starbucks after work or on weekends. Her beverage orders became a little more detailed as she approached her favorite barista. Instead of a mocha, she ordered a triple grande nonfat mocha with no whip. Maybe that was just a coincidence that she was now spending more time at the counter with Othy.

With encouragement from his fellow baristas, Othy had been trying to get up the nerve to ask her out. He finally did in the fall of 2010 when Jana came in later than usual at the end of the week.

“I wondered, ‘What is this beautiful girl doing on a Friday night, coming in to get a Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino by herself?’ That’s just wrong,” he recalled.

With encouragement from fellow partners, after his shift he approached her table. Othy casually mentioned he hosts a comedy show, and invited her to the next stand-up night which happened to be his birthday.

She didn’t show up.

But, she found him on Facebook and sent him a message apologizing for not being able to make it.

“I remember getting up from my computer and walking around my apartment saying ‘oh my gosh’ she contacted me,” he said. And now he knew her last name – Rhodes.

“It was maybe 20 minutes after I sent the Facebook message and he wrote back to me,” Jana said.

From there they started having more conversations and eventually a first date. On their first date, Othy admitted to Jana that when she walked by the window he’d told fellow partners she was his “dream girl.”

“That was the sweetest thing to hear,” she said. “At the same time I thought on that first date I hope the dream and the reality match up.”

Fellow Starbucks partners (employees) and even customers began to notice the young couple and for Jana it felt like they had a community supporting them and even asking when Othy was going to propose.

He did on January 19, 2013.

Jana married her barista one year ago, on October 19, 2013. They had a coffee bar at their wedding and many friends and customers from their Starbucks store.

“I see people meet at Starbucks all the time on first dates and I hope their stories turn out as happy as ours has,” Othy said. “Starbucks really is a great place to meet people. There’s a feeling of camaraderie behind the bar and community throughout the store that is unlike any other place.”

Jana has found one place for coffee that’s better than Starbucks – their apartment. Othy has a manual espresso machine at home and makes her a handcrafted espresso drink every day to send her off to work.

This is Othy and Jana's story. What's yours? Share Starbucks customer stories with us [email protected]

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