Customer returns to Starbucks with apology note, $50 after rude treatment of barista

Mar 23, 2017 22

Courtesy of Andrew Richardson(NEW YORK) — One California Starbucks barista got a surprise on March 21 when a customer returned to apologize for her behavior from the day before.

Andrew Richardson, 20, was floored when he received a handwritten card and $50 bill from his customer named Debbie, whom he admits he didn’t even think was that rude.

“On the 20th, this woman, Debbie, came through the drive through while I was working. She was extremely pleasant, and we had some friendly conversation while her drinks were being made,” Richardson, of Bishop, California, told ABC News. “She had multiple drinks, and we didn’t have drink carriers. I informed her and she was a touch frustrated like anyone would be.”

In addition to being out of drink carriers, he also couldn’t take her trash she was hoping to throw away.

“I cannot do this because it would be a California health code violation,” he explained. “She then became a bit more frustrated, but nothing that I would perceive as rudeness. At worst, she was playfully sassy. I really didn’t think too much of it.”

Richardson carried on with his day and didn’t give it a second thought.

“It was not a big deal at all in my eyes,” he said. “Being in customer service you can experience a lot of negativity and frustration. I try and counter it with positivity and patience. This was an extremely mild interaction compared to other incidents.”

But Debbie apparently felt otherwise.

“The next day, she came back. I happened to walk by the window when she was there,” Richardson recalled. “She asked me if I was working the window yesterday. I said ‘yes.’ She then became extremely apologetic. She felt genuinely terrible about our interaction the day before. I was so heart warmed to even get a verbal apology. It doesn’t happen much.”

The two chatted for a few minutes and Richardson said her in-person “genuine apology” alone was enough to lift his spirits, without even knowing what was going to happen next.

“She then handed me the card, [and] I was even more grateful and uplifted,” he said. “I thanked her for another minute and she left.”

He hadn’t yet opened the card before Debbie drove away.

“I returned to it later, opened it, and I was completely shocked,” he said of discovering the money. “Without the money, this was one of the most beautiful and heartfelt things I have ever read. It absolutely made my day when I read it. The money was unnecessary. The card alone was the best part. I would have turned the money down had I opened it when she was there. It’s hard to take things like that.”

Richardson’s supervisor told him he could keep the money.

“She handed it to him in a personal card so of course he was able to keep it,” one of the location’s supervisors, Angie Harris, told ABC News.

“I think it was great. It’s always good to see those customer connections,” she added. “We’re really proud of him.”

“Nothing like this has ever happened, it’s unprecedented,” said the humbled barista. “This was easily one of the kindest things I’ve ever received. I’m very happy to know that there are still good, caring people in this world. I’m still smiling about it.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jobless claims jump to 258K

Mar 23, 2017 17

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims spiked higher last week, increasing by 15,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending March 18, the number of people filing for benefits jumped from a revised level of 243,000 the previous week to 258,000.

Now at 240,000, four-week moving average also increased by 1,000 from last week’s revised average of 239,000.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tax Tip: What happens when you can't pay the IRS?

Mar 23, 2017 18

iStock/ThinkstockYou’ve gone through your receipts, crunched the numbers, checked them twice and now you’re ready to file your taxes. But there’s one problem: You can’t pay everything you owe Uncle Sam.

Certified public accountant Richard Lavina says don’t panic.

“If you can’t just shell out one check, you know, a huge check for hundreds of thousands of dollars, what you can do is set up a payment plan,” he says. “There are plenty of CPAs that can do that. It’s a nice option, as opposed to saying, ‘Uh, ok, here’s $10,000 right here.'”

Just make sure you keep the agreement because if you don’t, the penalties add up quickly.

And remember: There’s only one way to guarantee you won’t owe the IRS.

“You could always overpay them. The IRS loves when you overpay. That’s essentially what you have when you have withholdings and they give you a refund because you paid or withheld, as an employee, too much throughout the year,” Lavina explains

If you need to change your withholdings for next year, do it now.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Virgin America will disappear into Alaska Airlines in 2019

Mar 22, 2017 25

Virgin America(SEATTLE) — The Virgin America name is embarking on its final voyage.

The parent company of Alaska Airlines announced Wednesday that it would be phasing out Virgin’s name following the merger of the two companies last December.

“After careful consideration, the combined company will adopt Alaska’s name and logo, retiring the Virgin America name likely sometime in 2019,” a statement said. However, the combined airline
will adopt many of the brand elements that Virgin America enthusiasts love about their favorite airline, including enhanced in-flight entertainment, mood lighting, music and the relentless desire
to make flying a different experience for guests. The goal is to create a warm and welcoming West Coast-inspired vibe.”

Vice President of Marketing Sangita Woerner,said they wanted one name for their airline in order to be more consistent and efficient.

The combined forces of the Alaska Air Group make up the fifth-largest carrier in the nation.

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Starbucks to open 12,000 new locations by 2021

Mar 22, 2017 19

Starbucks(NEW YORK) — If you already feel like there’s a Starbucks on every street corner, get ready to see a whole lot more of the coffee chain’s stores.

The company announced on Wednesday plans to open 12,000 new stores globally by 2021, 3,400 of which will be in the U.S.

The new locations will amount to more than 240,000 jobs around the world, including 68,000 positions in the U.S. alone.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Starbucks to open 12,000 new locations by 2021

Mar 22, 2017 22

Starbucks(NEW YORK) — If you already feel like there’s a Starbucks on every street corner, get ready to see a whole lot more of the coffee chain’s stores.

The company announced on Wednesday plans to open 12,000 new stores globally by 2021, 3,400 of which will be in the U.S.

The new locations will amount to more than 240,000 jobs around the world, including 68,000 positions in the U.S. alone.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cheerios' free flower seeds become thorny issue

Mar 22, 2017 22

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — General Mills’ heart was definitely in the right place when it took its Honey Nut Cheerios spokes-insect “BuzzBee” off its boxes, to raise awareness of declining bee populations.

However, botanists are decrying a “bring the bees back” campaign that had consumers sending away for free packs of wildflowers to plant because some of the seeds will grow into invasive plants that aren’t bee-friendly.  

The company reportedly gave away some 1.5 billion seeds as part of the campaign, which actually began in Canada.

“At worst these things can potentially introduce weedy plants where they might not currently exist,” said Eric Mader, a native plant specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “At best … I don’t know if there is a best.”

Experts agree private planting of the seeds wouldn’t necessarily be harmful but doing so on public land — either deliberately or accidentally — could lead them to spread in an uncontrolled manner.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Italian grandmothers taste test pasta at three price points

Mar 22, 2017 24

Grace Wong/ABC(NEW YORK) — Ease and affordability make pasta a perennial favorite, but today artisans have turned this humble pantry staple into nouvelle cuisine.

By using ingredients like spring water, quality semolina flour and pushing the dough through a bronze extruder, a pound of gourmet spaghetti could cost 10 times more than the average price of supermarket spaghetti. But does pricier mean tastier?

ABC News’ Good Morning America asked Luca Donofrio, head pasta maker at Eataly in New York City, to create a blind taste test comparing dried spaghetti at three different price points: $1, $2.50 and $10 a pound.

Donofrio cooked the pasta and dressed it simply with olive oil and garlic, and we invited three experts, or “nonnas” (that’s Italian for grandmother), to take our taste test. The “nonnas” were asked to pick their favorite and which one they thought was the most expensive.

It was a three-way split vote for favorite, and a split vote again for the most expensive, but Nonna Romana Sciddurlo chose the pasta labeled “C” as her favorite and the most expensive.

Sciddurlo, like the other grandmothers who took the test, considers herself a pasta connoisseur — she makes her own pasta and has had her recipes featured in her granddaughter’s cookbook called Cooking with Nonna.

The pasta Sciddurlo chose? The pasta that cost $1 a pound, showing tasty doesn’t have to be expensive.

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Tax Tip: How moonlighting can affect your taxes

Mar 22, 2017 24

iStock/ThinkstockA lot of people are doing the side hustle these days, working a second job — or more — in addition to their full-time career. But when it comes time to file your taxes, that extra money may cost you.

“We saw a lot of independent contractors — they either drove for Uber or they listed a property on Airbnb, and they’re getting for the first time income into their household outside of their W-2,” says certified public accountant Richard Lavina. “Little did they know at the time that they’ve got to pay a tax bill because there are no withholdings.”

Lavina says that means big changes to the way you file your taxes. And while you may have to pay more this year than you’d hoped to, you can plan ahead for next year.

“Organization’s key. If you know you’re going to be moonlighting throughout the year, it’s best to get with an adviser and estimate how much you’re going to be making off that contracting job and set up at least quarterly payments,” he says.

You can also find the forms for this kind of payment on the Internal Revenue Service’s website, IRS.gov.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

This Texas company lets you spend spring break driving real tanks, firing rounds and blowing stuff up

Mar 21, 2017 29

iStock/Thinkstock(UVALDE, Texas) — Deep in the heart of South Texas, visitors are getting the chance to fire a real-life war machine.

DriveTanks.com has set up shop at an 18,000-acre ranch in Uvalde, Texas, about two hours west of San Antonio, where people can take control of real tanks on battlefield courses set up with special effects to recreate scenes that seem right out of “Saving Private Ryan.”

Watch the full story on ABC News “Nightline” tonight at 12:35 a.m. ET.

The company is the brainchild of Todd DeGidio, a former Houston police officer and Green Beret.

His collection has tanks from various countries, including the United States, Germany and Russia, as well as “big guns,” such as anti-tank guns, a Howitzer and a few mortars, and machine guns all from different wartime periods, including World War II and the Korean War.

“We have all kinds of guns from around the world from every period,” he said.

The company’s crown jewel is the 1944 Sherman tank, the same model that Brad Pitt drove in the movie “Fury.” It’s a working tank that shoots live ammunition, meaning participants can launch a solid steel, 14.5-pound projectile at over 2,500 feet per second.

DeGidio gives new participants a quick run-through of how to drive the tanks — they are stick-shift — and then guides them through the courses.

John and Patti Albritton brought their tank-buff son Josh and his pal Ethan, both 12 years old.

“[Josh] loves tanks. He loves World War II history, any kind of history, so here we are,” said his mother Patti Albritton.

DirveTanks.com offers various packages, none of which are cheap. Shooting the Flamethrower is $300, but driving a tank over an old car runs about $1,000. Firing the Sherman tank costs about $3,000. DeGidio said one group spent a full day and over $30,000 on the experience.

“That’s everything we had and shooting everything we had,” he said. “It was even hard for us to keep up with them.”

Frank Wong and his family came from Katy, Texas, about three hours away, for the opportunity to drive a British Chieftan tank, and got a chance to roll over the top of an old Audi sedan.

DeGidio said they have hired security to make sure no one comes in and tries to steal their machines.

“We have armed guards that are within 30 seconds from the building [where the tanks are parked],” he said. “We make sure that this stuff is all secure and approved magazines, explosive bunkers, stuff like that … we do an over and beyond on that department.”

DriveTanks.com says they have “no set age limit” on who can drive or shoot on their courses, leaving that decision “entirely up to the parents and the capability of the kids to follow instruction,” according to the website. They say they have had kids as young as 8 years old shoot and as young as 12 years old drive.

Josh got his chance to pull the Sherman’s trigger — slicing right through an old minivan. Both he and his friend Ethan cheered when they hit their target.

“I’ve seen amusement parks and roller coasters and stuff, but this is nothing compared to that,” Ethan said.

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