slice of life

Momma Dale

I’ve cut back on my Starbucks runs in recent months since I wanted to spend less money on my coffee. (My hubby bought me a Keurig Vue, which doesn’t hold a candle to a mocha from Starbucks!) Nowadays, I only stop there once or twice a week. I like going to the drive thru Starbucks, which is on the way — kinda, sorta — to my daughter’s school. It’s super-easy to go to the drive thru with a child since there’s no unbuckling from the car seat or buying extra items that are situated at toddler level.  

Isabelle holds her “coffee” on the way to school.

When I started going to the Starbucks drive thru last year, I figured the baristas would never get to know my drink since they wouldn’t see me walk into the store. And while that’s still the case since I order into a box, I’ve gotten to know the barista who is at the window in the mornings. Her name is Dale and she always has a smile on her face no matter what the weather is.  The first time we met I noticed her New England accent. We got to talking about living in New England (since we both have) since there was no one else in line.  However, most of our exchanges since that initial encounter have been limited to pleasantries since the drive thru is usually busy (It’s the only one in the Capital Region of PA!) on weekday mornings.

Several months ago, Isabelle asked for a cup so she could pretend like she was drinking her own coffee in the backseat of the car as we drove to school. One cup led to another cup, which led to another. Every time I would pull up at the window, Dale would hand me my mocha, I’d hand her my Starbucks card, and then I’d ask for an empty tall cup for Isabelle. No lid.  No splash stick.  Just a cup.  Dale happily obliged every time. (NOTE: Other baristas at other locations oblige, but I usually get a strange look since it’s an odd request.)

This morning, as soon as Dale saw at the window, she greeted me with a warm smile and a “good morning.”  Then, she waved towards the backseat and said, “Hi Isabelle.” (How impressive is it that she remembered her name?!?!)

Isabelle waved back at her.

“Your drinks are coming right up,” Dale said as she took my card.

In a small voice, I heard Isabelle say to me, “May I have a cup please?”

I heard her, but I don’t think Dale did since she was ringing up my beverage. A moment later she came back to the window with my card, the receipt, and two cups in hand: my white mocha and Isabelle’s empty cup.

“Here you go!” Dale said.

“What do you say?” I asked Isabelle.

“Thank you!”

We wished Dale a good day, waved, and drove off on our way.

Coffee-addicted people who frequent Starbucks seem to have a favorite barista. But I have to say, Momma Dale (that’s what it says on her name tag) is one of the nicest baristas out there.  But what I appreciate most of all is her attention to Isabelle.  And you know something, Isabelle appreciates it too because she told me, as we drove away today, “Dale’s nice!”

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10 thoughts on “Momma Dale

  1. I very much like this slice for a couple of reasons. First I love the connections made with strangers over the most mundane things. My soup guy the highlight of my every Tuesday when I was pregnant because she flirted with me. Even at 8 months and four chins along. I loved that guy. Incidentally I gave him a Starbucks gift card I won once. The second reason is it’s just a nice story that your daughter is a part of learning to be like mommy.

  2. Stacey,
    Oh, it is so hard to resist Starbucks! I purchase a mocha and carmel creamer that makes my coffee bearable, but it’s still not Starbucks. The closest Starbucks to me is at a local grocery store. The baristas have my coffee down to a science. I like a marble mocha — a little white chocolate and dark chocolate mixed.

    You and Isabelle have a great thing going with Momma Dale.

  3. Oh I love this post. It is nice to have a favorite barista. I sliced about caramel macchiatos the other day, and in my case I order different all the time. Several of the baristas have tried to predict but most know that mix it up.

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