Starbucks Log The Gift

A young man, late teens, early twenties, small, wearing oversize pants and two hoodies, shuffled in through the glass doors at Starbucks. He spied one of the purple cushioned chairs and moved toward it. Dropping a clear plastic garbage bag containing a some balled up clothes, he slumped down and sank into the chair.

He looked as though he was outside for the night–a cold, rainy and windy night. In a few minutes his chin found his chest, his eyes shut, a grey cotton hood fell over his forehead concealing most of his face, and his body rested, motionless.

Five minutes later a slightly plump, black haired lady with a soft face, set down a coffee and a small paper bag with what I supposed was a muffin, on the squat round coffee table beside the chair where the young man was sleeping. She placed a card on top of the bag.

A few minutes later a waiter came over, reached down and nudged the young man's shoulder. When he opened his eyes the waiter told him he was sorry, but that he just couldn't sleep there.

The youth was still struggling for an awake state when he saw the gift beside him. He picked up the note, and blinking, scanned it, then studied it. Conscious of me looking over at him he raised his head. I smiled. His cast his eyes back down and trained them on the coffee. A moment passed, too curious, I asked him what the note said. He hesitated but pulled it out of his pocket. It was a business card. He read the handwriting on the back of it, "If you want to get clean call me." I got up and went over to see what business the lady owned or perhaps represented. The title on the card said, 'Jewish Family Services'.

When I sat back down the youth asked if it was me. I assured him no, and described the black-haired lady. He asked if I knew of the agency. I said I didn't but did know about a place called Hope Mission. He stared out the window a moment then picked up his large plastic bag, dropped in the muffin, twisted it closed and slung it over his right shoulder. Holding his coffee in his left hand, he raised it to me, and walked back out the glass doors into the grey morning.

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