Like most of us, Diana Register thought the ugly cry was best done in private.
Crying in a drive-thru
She has been her husband’s caretaker through his cancer treatment and found places to cry. The shower. The closet. A parking lot. But the ugly cry unexpectedly struck her in the drive-thru at Dutch Bros. Coffee.
She was stuck. She had no where to go.
“The teenager who was supposed to take my order was known to me, only because I frequented the place often. She took one look at me and saw how disheveled I was and said nothing. She just handed me my drink. A drink I didn’t order because I couldn’t even muster the words, but a drink she would know I wanted.”
Register, of Meridian, Idaho, submitted what happened next to Love What Matters.
The barista didn’t say anything. She just handed her a drink. A drink with a pink straw and some words in black marker scribbled on the lid. The words said:
“We love you.”
Register, who explained in another post that with her husband who would go on to lose his fight from pancreatic cancer, it meant everything to her in that moment.
“She wanted me to know I wasn’t alone. And that whatever trial I was going through, that there were people out there who cared about me. That regardless of knowing all the details, they cared anyway.”
Beacon of hope
The pink straw wasn’t just a straw to Register. It was a beacon of hope. She told readers of her post that the “smallest act of kindness can impact somebody’s life.” And that pink straw did that for her.
Register tells that story of the pink straw and the scribbled, kind words to anyone who will listen.
“Because I want them —no, I need them— to know how powerful their actions can be to a person in pain.”
Register said the kind barista has moved on and she visits a different Dutch Brothers now. She always requests a pink straw.
She later shared the story of the pink straw with Jake, the manager of the Dutch Brothers location that started it all. He shared the story with his crew.
And now a purple straw
One of the crew surprised Register with one of her favorite iced drinks but with a purple straw. Why? Because purple is the signature color of pancreatic cancer.
“They don’t even really have purple straws. But the ones they get every so often; they have my name on it. Because they want to show me they care. They want to show me they’re doing something to honor my husband.”
Cue the ugly cry.
‘…literally changed my life’
Register ended her post by saying that we often think that’s it the grand gestures and the big amounts of money we share that makes a difference. But it’s not. It’s the hugs. The written notes.
Or the pink straws.
“Simple acts of kindness is all it takes. This small thing has literally changed my life, and I hope you remember that as you go on with yours. Whether you’re the giver or receiver, you can and you will make a difference by showing you care.”