Last Saturday, a desperate woman in Vancouver, Washington, got coffee at the Dutch Bros. drive-through. Her 37-year-old husband had died the day before, and while getting coffee, she lost her composure.
When baristas Pierce Dunn and Evan Freeman figured out what was going on, they said, “There’s nothing more you need to say. We got this. We’re going to do what we do every time we get someone who’s in pain or hurt. We’re going to give [you] our love.” And the way they offered their love was by reaching out the window, taking her hand, and praying for her.
The two baristas had no idea someone snapped a picture of them, nor did they realize it would go viral before the weekend was over. Fortunately for them, it resulted in a generally positive response, but it could have just as easily resulted in a backlash.
Religious expression isn’t looked upon too favorably by some people these days — and it’s not just in settings like high schools, which run the risk of being coercive environments. It’s in the public square. For example, there’s oftentimes outright vitriol over an openly-Christian celebrity like Tim Tebow, who has been relentlessly mocked for his open expressions of faith. Social media is rife with screeds ridiculing people who offer faith as a basis for their worldview. And if there are religious characters on TV, it is rare that they are thoughtful or admirable in any way.
The message is clear: Keep your faith behind closed doors, and most adults do — but not Pierce Dunn and Evan Freeman. Good for them. While it might occasionally offend someone at the drive-through (and might even put the baristas’ jobs at risk), I say go for it.
I want to live in a world where other grownups can have differing points of view without folks having a panic attack. I want to live in a world where a Christian or a Muslim or a Hare Krishna can passionately and politely proselytize others without it causing all kinds of irreparable hurt feelings.
It’s a big world out there, folks, and there are people searching for answers. Thank God there are folks like Pierce and Evan who are willing to provide the best one they can think of. It may run the risk of hurting some feelings, but if you ask that woman they prayed for last Saturday, I bet she will tell you it’s worth it. And I tend to agree.