A woman was going through the drive-thru at a local coffee shop in Idaho when her phone conversation took a turn, and she was left devastated and at a loss for words. During her silence, she received an unexpected coffee from the barista, and just moments later she could “barely breathe” as she spotted what the employee had left on her cup.
During her husband Chad’s cancer journey, Diana Register admits that she wouldn’t cry in front of anyone. She would find the most interesting places to let her tears fall where no one else would see her, which often included her shower, a closet, or even a parking lot. However, as emotions tend to take control on their own, sometimes it would just hit her at some random place, and she would find herself “ugly” crying in front of strangers.
Of course, one such day, she was simply looking to stop at Dutch Brothers for a coffee when an overwhelming, emotional feeling randomly hit her. “I don’t remember what the particular problem was at that moment but, like most days, I was overwhelmed. I was on the phone and talking it through when the person on the other line said something that struck me enough to lose it right there,” she recalled, according to Love What Matters. “I could barely catch my breath and the ugly crying started.”
You hear me talk about the pink straw and you've seen the hashtags but I realized today when I was picking up my coffee…
She was trapped — literally. She was stuck in the coffee line, blocked in the drive-thru between two cars with no room to get out. “As I approached the window as a middle-aged woman with my hair in a bun, and with my face wet from crying, I could barely speak. I was still listening to the person on the phone talk, and I had two choices. I could speed off or I could roll down the window,” she explained.
She chose the latter, rolling down the window, but she couldn’t speak a word to the teenage barista. Soon, Diana realized that the barista recognized her from her countless prior trips for coffee before and immediately knew something was off with one look at her “disheveled” appearance. But, she said nothing.
Instead, she simply handed Diana the drink, a drink she didn’t order because she couldn’t even muster the words. “I tried to smile when I took it from her and drove away and finished my call. By this time, I had pulled into a parking stall and was trying to regain my composure. I reached for my iced coffee, and when I looked down in the cup holder, I saw it,” she explained. There was something unique about this drink, but Diana had completely missed it at first.
Instead of the ordinary straw, the barista had given her a pink straw and wrote the words “We love you” on the cup’s lid, according to All The Moms. With a simple act, that barista was Diana’s angel.
“This girl barely knew me. I don’t even think at the time she knew my story. All she knew was that at that moment, I was hurting. She couldn’t fix it. We couldn’t talk about it. She couldn’t hug me. So she used the only tool she had in that instance — a pen and a pink straw.”
Diana knew that the girl just wanted her to know that she wasn’t alone and, regardless of whatever it was that was making her sad, there were still people who cared about her. She admits that she remembers this pink straw just as vividly as the moments in crisis, which are burned into her memory.
“I remember the face of the doctor when they delivered the cancer diagnosis, I remember the look on my husband’s face when we realized the cancer was back, I remember the tears from the nurses the night he died, and I remember that pink straw,” she said. It had become more than a simple pink straw with a message, it was a symbol of how one small act of kindness can impact someone’s life.
Unfortunately, after Diana’s husband fought cancer, it returned and, ultimately, took his life. Now that she and their children are learning to move on, she says that every time she goes to any Dutch Brother’s stand, she orders a pink straw because it reminds her that, no matter how challenging her day is or could be, someone is always there who cares.
Eventually, Jake, a manager at one of the stands, asked Diana why she always requests a pink straw. As soon as she explained it, he shared it with his crew. “And since then, they have dived into my story, wanting to help me raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer. Not because it’s affected them personally. Not because they have experienced that tragedy. No. They’re doing it because some girl in Idaho thought enough one day to be kind and now that story lives on and has evolved into something so much more,” Diana explained.
Dear DBBF:Who knew I could love any color straw more than a pink one?My heart is full. Thank you.xoxo,Me#iam149#dbbf#sincewhendotheyhavepurplestraws
A few months ago, Jake had a surprise for Diana. When she asked what it was, he handed her an iced drink with a purple straw. Why would he choose the color purple? Because it’s the signature color for pancreatic cancer.
People often think they have to do some grand gesture to make a difference, but it’s simple acts of kindness like these that help lift people up. While struggling with different stages of grief, it’s the people who saw Diana’s raw emotions at the coffee shop whose kind act affected her most. God has a way of giving you exactly what you need without you ever even expecting it. Who would have thought it could be something as simple as a straw and a kind word during a time of such immense grief?