Second a graduate off right

Taking 20 Minutes For A Fellow Panther

One young barista gets a heartwarming tip on her way to college

Emma Judge is the kind of teenager who goes out of her way. “During the school year, I was really busy with track and lots of different activities, and I wouldn’t really see my parents that much,” she told Good Turns recently. “So in the morning I would write them a note saying, ‘I hope you’re having a wonderful day,’ or ‘I hope god blesses you,’ or something like that.”

While this kind of thing might cause a momentary twinge of envy in the parents of less conscientious 18-year-olds, it also makes Judge a great fit for her job as a greeter at a coffee shop in Urbandale, Iowa. It also put her in the path of a sweet good turn, when a customer came in wearing a University of Northern Iowa sweatshirt.

“Part of our job is to be friendly and make small talk, and I love to do that, it’s one of my favorite things to do is to connect with the customers,” Judge says. “I noticed he was wearing a UNI shirt, which is the college I’ll be attending in the fall, so I started a conversation with him, and asked him if he was an alumnus.”

“He said he was, and went on to tell me that’s where he met his wife, who was with him. I told him I’m really excited to go there, the different opportunities I’ll have, to see what it’s really like at college, and the overall environment. You could kind of tell in his facial expression that he found that interesting. You can tell when someone’s pleased with something. After that, I went over and made his latte, and he said, ‘Thanks for mentioning UNI. My wife and I love meeting other UNI attendees. We’re really excited that you’re so happy to go there, good luck in the fall,’ and they walked out.”

“It inspired me to take time every day to dedicate to making someone else’s day. To me, those are some of the biggest things someone can do during their life.”

“I thought that’s all it was and I kept working, but around 20 minutes later he came back in with a card. He handed it to me and said, ‘Have a good day’ and walked out.”

“I thought, Well, okay, that’s interesting. But I opened it, and on the front it said, ‘Congratulations.’ Inside it said, ‘I know this is random, don’t be freaked out, but it’s always great to see someone excited to be a Panther. Good luck with your new journey. Go Panthers!’ And there was $40 inside.”

Judge immediately thought to try to find a way to thank her customer, but he’d signed the card with only his first name, Mike. And he’d paid cash, so she couldn’t check credit card slips to find his last name, though the thought crossed her mind. “I thought, ‘Oh, shoot, why’d you do that?’ There was no way for me to find him,” she says.

“I’ve never really gotten a random act of kindness before, and it just opened my eyes about how just being kind to strangers each day really makes a difference if everyone does it. It inspired me to take time every day to dedicate to making someone else’s day. To me, those are some of the biggest things someone can do during their life.”

“It kind of humbled me just to see that even though there are so many things happening in this world, there’s still really, really kind and genuine people that do things like that. Even though it’s been over a month, I’m still just inspired by how kind someone could be,” Judge says. As we are inspired by how much happiness such a simple act can bring. Here’s hoping that Judge and the rest of the Class of 2017 continue the inspiring tradition of good turns.

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