Good Things Happen: Cool cups, a coffee love story, the ceo throwdown, and a holiday baby

Welcome to Good Things Happen, a monthly roundup of the best real-life moments from Starbucks stores worldwide.

Cool cutout cups

Illustrator and artist Soo Min Kim is finding a new way to recycle Starbucks cups—into cartoons that are also incredible works of art. Hand-drawn and then carefully cut out, each one is unique, and each one is made with a cup that he came with a drink he ordered. Bonus: Soon Min posts videos of each cup’s creation so we can watch the magic happening.


Spill your heart out

Good things do happen all the time at Starbucks around the world, and sweet love stories are one of them. Here’s a note we received from one of our former store partners, Natasha Lopez—we couldn’t help sharing:

“A little over two years ago I was a… (brand new partner). This complete stranger (now my wife) came and ordered her basic black coffee. I went to hand her her coffee and spilled it all over her. She was doing homework and didn’t want to leave, so after I apologized about a million times, she went back to what she was doing. About an hour later, I went on  … (break) and she was still sitting there. I went and asked her if she needed anything, and eventually we started talking. Long story short, she invited me to dinner. I agreed and the rest is history. We will be married for two years in January❤️”

CEO throwdown

So, sometimes you’re at work and the chief executive officer of your company walks in and challenges you to a Flat White throwdown. OK, so maybe that never happens—to you. But it sure did happen to Travis Conner, a barista in one of our Austin stores, when Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson grabbed a green apron and threw down the coffee gauntlet. Travis posted about it on Facebook and we thought we’d share.

Take it away, Travis:

“Ok y'all so, yesterday I legit got to "Flat White throwdown" with Kevin Johnson. He straight up walked in, introduced himself, shook hands with our team, went straight to the back, came back with a green apron and said, "Let's do this." Y'all I have never met the CEO of a company I've worked for in my life, let alone had them come and throw down a dot in a flat white with his partners on the front lines.. This dude has mad respect for us and everything we do, and he most certainly gained mine.”

And, of course we got Kevin’s side of the story too.

“One thing I love doing when I go to the stores is to put on a green apron and make a beverage with our partners. That Flat White throwdown was fun – and I’m getting better every day so they better watch out!”

No mention at press time of whose Flat White reigned supreme, but it sounds like everyone wins.

Oh, the places they’ve been

After meeting while working for a catering company near Boston, Emily and Adeline Noonan-Phillips’ friendship became something more. “In fact, it grew in a variety of Starbucks stores where we shared our ‘Sunday dates’ every Sunday morning”, said Emily. When friendship turned to love, they wasted no time—three weeks later they were married at Boston City Hall.

They made it their lifetime goal to travel, and Starbucks will always be a part of it. “This year, we tackled the eastern part of our continent. We make it our goal to grab a Starbucks mug from each city and state we go to. Our plans this next year are to get more Canadian mugs and get to the middle part of our country”. It’s a sweet way to keep track of their journeys together—we approve!

Photo credit: Rayleen Tritt, Meraki Photo

They grow so Grande so fast

When customer Amy Simkins’ new baby came early over the holidays in 2016, she was so tiny her parents took her picture with one of our red cups to show her size (as new parents they had plenty of Starbucks around). Amy sent us their story in a message just in time to celebrate this year.

“Our baby was born three months early, weighing 1lb 14oz. Since she was in the hospital over Christmas, we decided to plop her into a red cup and take some pics. In celebration of her growth, we now take a pic of her each year with a red Starbucks cup. :)”

And a tradition was born along with a brand-new baby.

I’m not crying, you’re crying

Our partners take good care of their customers every day. And sometimes it goes the other way around. It was the morning after Thanksgiving, and Amber Addison was starting her shift as assistant store manager at Starbucks in Kitty Hawk, N.C. She was talking with her opening barista, Zoe, who asked how her Thanksgiving was. “I told her that for the last 10 years or I haven’t really done anything, it’s just me and my dad here, and that I actually worked Thanksgiving night,” said Amber.

Just then Julia, one of their regular customers came in.

“We were asking her how her Thanksgiving was, and she was telling us about how they had all of these leftovers, and they didn’t even know what they were going to do with them. And then Zoe was like, ‘well Amber didn’t have a Thanksgiving and blah blah blah…’ In the moment I was like oh-my-gosh, Zoe I can’t believe you just told her that.”

Julia said she would keep that in mind and come back to drop some leftovers off.  

“I thought she was joking.”

A couple of hours later, just as Amber was taking her lunch break, into the store walked Julia, her sister Deb and her daughter Misty. Loaded in their arms? You guessed it. All of their leftovers. “They said ‘here, this is for you, so that way you can have a Thanksgiving dinner also.’ And I just busted out in tears. That is probably the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.”

For Amber, it was more than roast turkey, stuffing, salad, rolls, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn and yes, even a pumpkin pie for dessert.

“We always talk about how we are going to inspire and nurture the human spirit for our customers, and the fact that our customers were able to in turn do that for us, I just thought that was a really special moment. It reinforced why I am here, doing this job.”

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