December 23, 2016 Community

A Surprise Reunion at a Starbucks Drive Thru

A Starbucks in Visalia, California, provided the setting for a memorable Christmastime family reunion.

After learning that her brother would be arriving home after nine months away serving in the United States Coast Guard, 19-year-old Hannah Connors planned a surprise involving her neighbor, Starbucks barista Lindsey Hash, to catch her mother off guard.

Hannah’s brother, Quinn Connors, arrived in Visalia early in the morning of December 21. By 6:30, he was positioned near the drive thru window of the family’s regular Starbucks stop.

“My mother is a teacher, so I asked if I could help her in her classroom Wednesday morning,” said Hannah, a student at California State University, Fullerton. “We love Starbucks. I suggested we get Starbucks on the way. She didn’t really want to go through the drive thru. She always goes inside, but I was just like, ‘Oh, it’s so cold outside. We have to go through the drive thru. I don’t want to get out of the car.’”

Seated out of sight on the floor, Quinn popped up to hand his mother her drink, prompting her to gasp with surprise. Fighting back tears, she told him, “I’ve missed you so much.”

“She couldn’t get the car parked fast enough to get out and hug him,” Hannah said.

Quinn’s father was in on the scheme and was also hiding out at the Starbucks. The plan was to next surprise Timothy and Tiffany’s other daughter, Brogan Willis. Dad, however, accidently included her in an email he sent out to friends that included a video of the event and stage two of the maneuver was foiled. After Hannah posted the video on social media, however, local and national media picked up on the story.

“It got a little crazy, that’s for sure,” said Hannah.

Quinn, who's been serving on USCGC Mellon, a high-endurance Cutter homeported in the Seattle area, will be home for about two weeks before leaving for the East Coast for "A" School training.  

Read more about how Starbucks Pays Tribute and Creates Opportunity for veterans and military spouses.

For more information on this story, contact the Starbucks Newsroom