I was but a witness

Walking in to Starbucks, I wasn’t feeling quite right; I had not eaten well and the icy, snowy conditions of the city had gotten me all off balance. I grabbed some mixed nuts along with the tall coffee and scanned the room for a place to sit. Fat Chance. Ansley Mall location is one of the busiest in the Atlanta area for Starbucks. Add in a snow day when nothing else is open and finding an open table is just not gonna happen. So, I walked outside and sat at an empty table. 34 degrees didn’t feel too bad earlier when I had run to and from work, but sitting in it now was not too fun. I rose and peeked inside; nope, no available tables or even a chair.

After just a few more minutes, two guys exited and I figured they had to have just vacated a table. I jumped up, made my move inside and secured an empty table. YAY. So, there I sat with my coffee, New York Times, & bag of mixed nuts. My body was still trying to get settled. I began reading some work research and occasionally I glanced up. When I did, I noticed the table in front of me to my left. At first, I wasn’t sure if the two individuals were men or women. They both had been heavily clothed; one had their head held down and was simply sitting there and the other was turned sideways with a large scarf around the neck. After watching them for a few moments, I saw they were women. The one who had her head down was intermittently sleeping and every now and again would open her eyes and pretend to read the paper in front of her. When I saw her eyes, I saw absolute fatigue, utter exhaustion. She was also shivering. Shivering as if she had been cold for days rather than just now coming in from the outside. You and I don’t know that kind of shivering and I pray we never do.

I caught a glimpse of the other ones’ eyes; soft, young. She had been sitting very still while reading the newspaper. There were no coffee cups or other pieces of evidence they had actually purchased anything. Obviously, they came in seeking shelter from the bone-chilling, wicked weather. Looking around the room, people were using their laptops, playing cards, conversing…and I wondered how many others noticed these two ladies. I thought of how I almost didn’t notice them. My thoughts drifted to where I would go when I left Starbucks; I was going to dinner across the street and then going home to my warm house. I wondered where they would go. Did they know where they were headed after the early 5:30pm coffee shop closing?

As I prepared to leave, I first went to their table and asked, “Can I get y’all some hot chocolate or something?” Immediately, they both looked up at me, smiled and said, “oh, yes, Thank you.” Me; “Or coffee, do you want coffee?” The ladies, brighter, “Oh, Yes, Coffee. Thank you so much” Me; “ok. I will get y’all some coffee.”

I walked up to the counter and ordered 2 grande coffees. As I was waiting, I reached into my pocket and pulled out two $20 bills. I grabbed a coffee and a $20 bill in each hand and went back to their table. I set the coffee and the money on the table and said, “this is for you. take care of yourselves.” They looked at me and smiled big. Then, they each gave me a hug and said “thank you.” “God bless”, I said “take care of yourself.”

I walked out. I was half-smiling. So shaken was I, so touched was I, I nearly burst into tears.

6 Responses to “I was but a witness”

  1. I’m honored to call you a friend.

  2. That’s my Angie. I agree with Scott.

  3. Karen Kopping Says:


    You are one of a kind. Always thinking of others.

  4. You didn’t just give them a warm drink and a hug…
    you gave them hope. And that is what makes you so remarkable.

  5. Sharon Fitzgerald Says:

    Like I said earlier to you today; You are truly one of my heroes and I am blessed daily by your presence in my life. Thank you for being an angel for them and like Kera said, “giving them hope”.

  6. what an amazing and inspiring act.

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