cup of coffee

Ibby Piracha is one of many regulars at his local Starbucks in Leesburg, Virginia. However Ibby isn’t like the other regulars – he’s also deaf.

Krystal Payne, a newly hired employee, knew after she first took Ibby’s order that she wanted to do something to make him feel more welcome at the store. The barista spoke with other employees about Ibby, learning he was a frequent customer and they did what they could to show him exceptional service while he was at the shop.

Payne, however, wanted to take it a step further.

The barista went home and spent over three hours that night learning American Sign Language so she could better communicate with Ibby.

“I’ve been learning ASL, just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”
The next day, she wrote him a small note stating: “I’ve been learning ASL, just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”

Ibby, overwhelmed with emotion for this small act of kindness, now has the note framed in his home.

Ibby was so moved by Krystal’s gesture that he posted it on Facebook to share with his friends. He never expected his post to go viral, but he is happy that Krystal is getting the recognition she deserves. A Starbucks spokeswoman even got wind of the kind gesture, and said the company was “very proud” of Krystal’s actions.

In his post, Ibby shared a photo of the note with the caption: “Oh, I gotta love this place. Starbucks woman cashier, she wrote it to me and she knew I am deaf. I am surprised she learning sign language because I attend to Starbucks 3 times in a week. She asked me "what you want drink?" in sign language. I am so blessed with her. I think she realized Leesburg, VA have deaf people. Please share this post to everyone. I want hearing people would understand about hearing community support for the deaf community.”

The next morning, Krystal heard about the post when her district manager complimented her and mentioned that there were many requests from reporters to interview Krystal.

“My job is to make sure people have the experience they expect and that’s what I gave him,” Krystal said. It took her a few days to adjust to her new fame, saying she didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

Ibby hopes that the gesture will lead to a better understanding of the deaf community. He was inspired by Krystal’s act of kindness and believes others will be as well.

“It shows she respect deaf people, she’s an inspiration,” Ibby shared.

Today, Krystal now knows everything she needs to take Ibby’s order. Before she took it upon herself to learn American Sign Language, Ibby would have to order his drink through text messages to the staff. She learned ASL through simple YouTube videos.

Piracha still loves to frequent the coffee shop, saying it is something that “gave me genuine happiness – even now, I’m still smiling.”

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