Friday, April 22, 2011


505 5th Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98104

I am not certain what other cities around the country are like (with the exception of Kapaa and Lihue on the island of Kauai, of course), but I am so grateful for the coffee shops in the Emerald City and other towns and cities nearby that offer its customers free Wi-Fi.  

My blogging would have been so limited if accessibility to the internet had not included these exceptional services at the big chains as well as independents.

Today, I am beginning a series of introducing you to just a handful of the coffee shops--mostly Starbucks, Tully's, and Seattle's Best, but also, hopefully, some of the independents as well.

I arrived here at the Starbucks just a few minutes ago and enjoyed an enchilada pie I'd picked up earlier at the Othello Safeway, a little over a half mile from the house I'm renting and conveniently located near the Sound Transit Link Light Rail Station.

A short 16-minute train ride found me arriving at the International District/Chinatown Station.  An escalator ride up to the street level and a very short walk later, I was at the coffee shop.

As I write this at 2:36 PM on Earth Day Friday, there are approximately 40+ people in this shop. Because it is located in the midst of light rail, bus, Sounder train, and Amtrak stations, this is without a doubt one of the busiest Starbucks shops in the greater Seattle area.  

Here, one will find an eclectic mix--students, senior citizens, young parents with their children, streetwise teenagers, yuppies, businessmen in suits, policemen, firemen, security guards, the homeless, the disenfranchised (ex-felons, drug users, those trying to kick drugs except for caffeine), writers, photographers, artists, and one Hawaiian Odysseus.

From my vantage point in the southwest corner of the store, I can see the attractive courtyard through which the above-mentioned bus, link light rail, and train passengers hurriedly pass through en route to and from their jobs, businesses, schools, or shopping activities.

It is a surprisingly beautiful sunny day.  We are, after all, two-thirds into April already, but the stubborn winter has refused to let go...not unlike the way I am with my adult children.

Nevertheless, I'll take it--this respite gift of pleasant and comfortable weather--and exercise my mind and soul as I utilize the energy within this particular coffee shop and share it vicariously with you.

What impresses me most about this shop are the baristas (any employee who operates an expresso machine) and partners (other employees, so-called because they all own Starbucks stock as a perk of working for the internationally acclaimed company)--usually all female and predominantly Asian or Asian-mixed, even a Pacific Islander from my home state--who have to be experiencing a great deal of stress due to the immense crowds that pass through this shop.  But like surfers who see past the dangerous waves and adeptly ride them in an unspoken alliance, these young adults and their personable Japanese male managers casually flow with the ebb and tide of customer surges throughout the day.  

My Hawaiian friend who works here just passed by as I finished the last paragraph.  She called out as she headed down the hallway that she had checked out my blog.

"Oh, that's nice, Uncle!  That's so nice!"  she exclaimed.

"I'm glad you like it, 'Drea!"  I responded.  

And therein is the spirit that prevails within this Starbucks shop.  These busy employess make it a point--and I attribute this to excellent corporate training and great management on Ken's part--to honor and uplift their patrons.

We can only begin to wonder at how this bit of ALOHA SPIRIT affects each customer's day and,  God-willing--permeates the city with atmospheric warm fuzzies.


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