Starbucks barista learns sign language for deaf customer

Krystal Payne, a Va. barista, learned sign language for customer Ibby Piracha. CBS News

LEESBURG, Va. For a deaf person like Ibby Piracha, getting the drink you want at Starbucks can be a tall order. But Ibby says not here, thanks to a barista who recently did something truly grande.

“I see that she gets a piece of paper out, and I thought maybe she had a question for me or something, but it really wasn’t a question at all,” Ibby said. “And as I read through it, it shocked me.”

He immediately posted a picture of the note, which read, “I’ve been learning ASL, American Sign Language, just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.”

That barista is Krystal Payne. She’s new here. In fact, she’d only waited on Ibby once before deciding to go home, go on the Internet and learn sign language for him.

“Maybe I spent like three or more hours on it,” Krystal said.

For one order.

“If he’s a regular, and I want to make that connection with my regulars, I should be able to at least ask him what he wants to drink,” Krystal said.

Today, Krystal knows everything she needs to wait on Ibby.

To Krystal, it’s no big deal, but to Ibby, who says navigating a hearing world is often frustrating, what Krystal did was a wonderful gesture that he will never forget. He even saved the note.

“It was something that was very inspirational, so I wanted to keep it in a frame,” Ibby said.

Sometimes customer service gets a bad rap. It’s often well-deserved. But there are those front-line workers who go above and beyond — not for a tip or because the boss is watching — but because kindness is who they are. And the customer all they care about.

“It’s just something that really gave me genuine happiness,” Ibby said.

Even now?

“Yeah, even now, still smiling.”

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