top of page

A $4 Cup of Coffee

June 1, 2009 was a Monday. It was also the day General Motors declared bankruptcy. Our family is a GM f

amily. We own a GM dealership and each of my siblings and my husband is connected to General Motors. My father owned the GM dealership where my oldest brother, my husband and I work. My middle brother works for General Motors and my twin brother works for a GM dealership in Portland.

As I sat in line for coffee that day in June of 2009, I thought . . . this is the definition of having all your eggs in one basket. My mind began to wander deep into the world of fear of what this would mean for our family. At one point I thought, I have no business spending the money on a coffee and yet by then, I was trapped with no way out . . . or so it felt.

My mind was a million miles away as I inched my way forward and I was barely present as it was my turn to place my order at the drive through. She said “What can I get you today? And oh, by the way, the guy in front of you just paid for your coffee.” I was in a complete fog and couldn’t even take in what she just said. I said “What???” She repeated it again and pointed to the truck who had just pulled away. Coming out of my fog, I finally recognized it was a customer our ours who had just bought my coffee. It took me a minute to return to the present moment. I placed my order and sat there and realized . . . it’s going to be OK . . . it’s going to be OK.

Albert Einstein long ago said the most fundamental question we can ask is “Do we believe the universe is a friendly place?” In that moment with a gift a $4 coffee, I decided through the generosity of a customer that the world is indeed a friendly place. Life is full of challenges and scary times and each of us has the opportunity to make a difference in the life of another person. I left that coffee stand and went to work with the belief it was going to be OK. We were going to figure things out. A $4 cup of coffee brought hope to my world and in turn to everyone that I came in contact with in my world. Let’s not ever sell ourselves short . . . every one of us can make a difference in the lives of others . . . with something as simple as a $4 cup of coffee.


bottom of page