Starbucks baristas are known for writing names wrong, intentionally or otherwise. There are many theories which argue that Starbuck baristas do it intentionally. This phenomenon is so widely known, so much so that people usually give out just an easier to write names when they go to Starbucks. I had a colleague who use the name ‘Prado’ instead of his real name ‘Pradeep’ and a friend who goes by ‘Harry’ instead of the name ‘Harikrishnan’.
However, it turns out all Starbucks baristas do not want to write your name wrong. This is a story from my trip to Tijuana, Mexico in February 2017.
My friend Naveen and I were in Tijuana for a weekend. We did not have a hotel reservation and to take advantage of a booking.com offer I had, we decided to do the booking online and then head to the hotel. Both of us had US sim cards but our data plan was not working in Mexico. Hence, we decided to go to the nearest Starbucks, grab a coffee and use the free WiFi to book a hotel room online.
We walked into the nearby Starbucks at Paseo de los Héroes. There was a cute young lady at the counter. While taking the order, she asked for my name. I said, “Arjun” (Pronounced as ar-j-un).
She looked at me with a lost expression and confusion. I spelled it out. She still had the same look. She waited after writing ‘A’ and ‘R’. I repeated ‘J’. Same expression with a hint of an apologetic smile. I tried having a conversation with her to understand the confusion and then she told me in her broken English that she can’t recall the letter ‘J’.
She still wanted to give it a try and wrote my name as ‘Argun’ and asked me if it is correct. I told her that there’s a small mistake and that I can write the name for her.
She apologized for the mistake and politely asked me if I could instead show her how the letter ‘J’ is written so that she can learn. She told me that she’s only learning English. I demonstrated it to her and she recalled ‘J’ once I wrote it down.
She smiled at me, thanked me for the little ‘lesson’, took another cup and wrote the name right on the second cup, filled my order and handed it over to me with a huge smile.
I was impressed by her curiosity, tenacity and the urge to learn!
Here’s a photo of the two cups, side by side.
During my travels till date, I have come across many interesting human beings and heard many interesting stories. This is one such. Not just a story, but a heartwarming and inspirational one.