I Just Got Joy’d in Starbucks Drive-Thru!

Starbucks drink cake pop

As my Chevy Equinox rolled through the Starbucks drive-thru, I was reminded by two wide-eyed, whining, energetic dogs to order ‘puppacinos’. Checking my Starbucks phone app, I realized I had enough for a drink award.

“Welcome to Starbucks, what can I get started for today?”

“One venti iced cappuccino, non-fat, two pumps mocha, one extra shot of espresso, blonde roast, cold foam, please….and oh yeah, a chocolate cake pop and two puppy whips”, as I muttered to the person at the other end of the speaker box.  (I ordered cold foam because it was free. I never order it because it’s a dollar extra. In my estimation, the drink alone, came to about $7.50).

“Thanks, please pull around!”

Approaching the drive-thru window, two pups, with heads lunging out of the back-seat window, eagerly awaited their puppacinos.

Holding up my phone app to pay, the girl cheerfully stated, “It’s been paid for by the car in front of you.”

“Really?”  I said, as tears filled my eyes. It’s been a hard week, and this was a little glimmer of joy to fill my day.

Handing me my enormous drink, cake pop, and the puppy whips, I asked, “Can I pay it forward?”

“Absolutely!” she answered, with a grin that stretched from Florida to California.

As we drove away, I couldn’t help but think what just transpired – a simple random act of kindness.

We could all use a little more kindness in this world, couldn’t we?

I challenge you today to pay it forward, and let me know in the comments below how you Joy’d someone!

“Remember, there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

~ Scott Adams

Peace, love, and sand dollars,



Sheree K. Nielsen is the award-winning author of four books  –

Her newest poetry and photography collection, Mondays in October, is her love song for the beach, and her eternal companion water. She’s dedicated the book to the Siteman Cancer Center Nurses who helped her make chemotherapy more bearable.

Ocean Rhythms Kindred Spirits – An Emerson-Inspired Essay Collection on Travel, Nature, Family and Pets, based on her adventures (Chanticleer Semi-Finalist for Nonfiction Guides – Insight and Instruction)

Folly Beach Dances is her 2015 Da Vinci Eye Award Winner, a healing coffee table book inspired by her lymphoma journey

and coauthor of, Midnight the One-Eyed Cat, 2019 Chanticleer Little Peeps First Place Winner for Early Readers


Starbucks owes me $4991.41!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStarbucks owes me $4991.41.  That’s right!

At least for a few minutes they did.

On a recent visit to a local Starbucks, I discovered my gold card was drained dry.  I promptly handed the girl at the register a crisp five dollar bill to reload my card.  I wish it could’ve been more, but when you’re a freelance writer, you budget according to the number of articles you’ve been contracted for.

My eyes popped in amazement as I saw $5,000 brightly displayed on the register, and belted out a “Wow!”

Of course, they cheerily voided the transaction, and handed me the receipts to keep as a novelty.  We both had a good chuckle.

I know I usually post inspirational pieces, but I’ll make an exception today.

My husband the Magician

A pleasant Friday night in June, my husband and I chose to spend it on Starbuck’s patio. People who know us realize we frequent this establishment on a regular basis, and own stock in the company.

Lounging on their new outdoor furniture, we enjoyed orange blossom green tea and pomegranate lemonade.  Chatting, we recapped the events of the day.  Our Australian Shepherd was sacked out on her doggie blanket near our feet.

The darkness of the evening mingled with a slight breeze.

I glanced over and noticed my husband repeatedly digging at his shorts.

“What is wrong with you?”

“My underwear is bugging the crap out of me.”

“I dare you to take them off in public.”

Within seconds, Russell revealed a multi-use tool hiding in his back jeans pocket. He proceeded to cut the waistband (vertically) with the pocketknife portion of the tool.   As he yanked the material in opposite directions, I heard the faint noise of cloth ripping.

Standing up, Russell quickly spun around with his derriere facing me. With his right hand, he pulled the tidy-whities from the top of his jean shorts and deposited them in the waste container nearby.

I belted out a hardy chuckle which transformed into a laugh-snort.

“I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.”

“What, you didn’t think I could do it?”

“You never cease to amaze me.”

Feeling set free from ‘the cotton’, Russell plopped back down in the chair, grinning ear-to-ear.

I suppose I should’ve never doubted his ability to pull this stunt off.

I’m married to man who once tied knots in 15 maraschino cherry stems in less than five minutes…


A Strange Morning

I awake to the beeping sound blasting from my alarm clock, and with peepers still closed, my hand smacks the snooze button with as much force as a contestant on the game show Jeopardy.

Laying in the fetal position, my right eye opens slowly.  I find a three-legged cat perched atop my pillowcase, staring at me.  The pooch whines and nudges the palm of my hand to stroke her silky fur as front paws inch closer to me on the mattress.   Lifting the other eyelid, I notice a fat black cat using the crest of my left hip like Mt. Everest, which she has flagged and conquered.  “Meow” she regales demanding her food.

Closing both eyes, I refuse to recognize the angelic creatures requiring my attention.  My Aussie sees this as an opportunity for affection.

“Dog Germs!” I yell out in Lucy Van Pelt fashion, as a warm wet tongue licks the inside of my mouth.  Visions of Snoopy dance in my head.  Charles Schultz would be proud.

Jumping up, I head to the bathroom and search for some Scope to sterilize, but this action is pre-empted by fishing a small unrecognizable (dead) bug out the aforementioned orifice.  Gross (I think to myself).

While glowering at the woman’s face staring back at me in the mirror, I recall the dream I had last night.

In the dream, Cory, a Wentzville Starbucks barista, was brilliant as the activity director of a popular ocean liner cruising the Caribbean.  Cory ensured our time spent on and off the ship was fun and entertaining.   On a day excursion, four couples, including my husband and I, sunbathed and picnicked on a deserted island.  The ship’s dinghy was three hours late on the return trip – so I guess you could say we were stranded – for a little while.

I record this information in my subconscious and remember to share this with Cory the next time I see him at Starbucks.

Much closer to the mirror now, I examine the facial lines and wrinkles and remove traces of balled-up mascara from the corners of my eyes.

Lowering my derriere, I straddle the porcelain commode.  My curious canine approaches and sniffs, then with precision agility, backs away.

I can’t help but think it’s been a strange morning and I wonder…what the heck did I eat last night?