Throughout our relationship, Javi has always surprised me with unexpected gifts. A few years ago, he came home from shopping and handed me a beautifully wrapped package. Like an impatient child, I removed the glitter ribbon and eagerly tore off the adorable wrapping paper.
“Another book?”- I asked, baffled.
“This is not just another book, you´ll love it “- he said.
“How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill…Umm, sounds interesting “- I murmured to myself and started reading.
How Starbucks Saved My Life
A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else
Michael Gates Gill found himself unemployed after losing his advertising position at the J. Walter Thompson agency in New York. As a top advertising executive, he had it all: luxury automobiles, lavish vacations, fabulous clothes and a loving family. Who could ever imagine that the person who had created huge campaigns for companies like Christian Dior and Ford could end up working in an entry-level job out of desperation!
The abrupt dismissal was followed by a series of unfortunate events. He was broke, his marriage was dissolving and to cap it all, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money, no health insurance and no prospects, Michael thought his life was over.
However, losing his job turned out to be a gift in disguise. Michael, the Yale-educated son of the famed New Yorker writer Brendan Gill, wandered into a Starbucks “hiring event” without having the slightest idea that it would irrevocably change his life.
Michael´s memoir was such an engaging and entertaining story that became an instant bestseller. Universal Pictures made a six-figure acquisition of How Starbucks Saved My Life before the book was even written and attached Tom Hanks to star.
An attractive 28-year-old Starbucks manager named Crystal Thompson gave Gill a job in her store at 93rd and Broadway staffed mostly by African-Americans in their 20s. Michael accepted it without thinking. For the first time in his life, he had to struggle to stay afloat finantially.
Gill had to commute to work on the subway—just like everyone else, learn the ins and outs of making more than 40 drinks, call them out in a certain order, clean the toilets, cope with rude customers, manage the register…But above all, he started appreciating the small things in life.
After reading the book, I felt the strong desire to visit the Starbucks where all the magic happened. I headed to the Upper West Side on a winter afternoon. As soon as I entered the store, I was intantly greeted by the friendly staff. I ordered a hot Cappuccino, took a seat by the window and soaked in the warm and inviting atmosphere.
“Crystal and Starbucks had saved my life. Saved me from my pursuit of empty symbols, but also my anxiety about a fear-filled superficial life that hadn’t been, in the end, helpful or even enjoyable for me” ― Michael Gates Gill.
Javi was right, this wasn´t just another book!