Ibby Piracha never expected a barista to go this extra mile.

Ibby Piracha is accustomed to using his phone to communicate when placing a fast food order. So when a barista went above and beyond to help this deaf man with his morning coffee, he was beyond touched.

Ibby Frequented This Starbucks, and Never Expected This

Piracha is a regular at his local Starbucks in Leesburg, VA. There, the deaf man is used to whipping out his phone and typing in his coffee order to communicate with the people that work there. That’s until one morning, when everything changed.

Krystal Payne had recently started working at the Starbucks Piracha frequents. On the morning in question, she was serving the man. Before he could order, however, she handed him a note.

“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,” Piracha told CBS News. “And as I read through it, it shocked me.”

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The note said, “I’ve been learning ASL, [American Sign Language], just so you can have the same experience as everyone else.” Piracha was touched and immediately posted the note online, where it went viral. As a result, many news outlets picked the story up.

“She was saying she looked on YouTube because she had a lot of customers that came in using text,” he added to ABC News. “I was very surprised she was willing to learn [sign language] and it shows she respects deaf people … she’s an inspiration.”

A Barista in Virginia Goes Above and Beyond


According to Payne, she’d only waited on Piracha once before when she decided to learn enough sign language to communicate with her customer. “Maybe I spent like three hours on it,” she told CBS News.

“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,” she continued.

It wasn’t a massive deal to Payne, but to Piracha it meant a lot. He said as much on Facebook, where his post has been shared more than 5,000 times. “I am so blessed with her,” he captioned a photo of the note. “I want hearing people [to] understand about hearing-community support for the deaf community.”

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In his interview with ABC News, Piracha expanded on that thought.

“I was very shocked to go in there one day and have her sign a little bit and I kind of smiled, thinking about it, and I even told the Starbucks manager, ‘You know, I was very impressed by your employee,’” he explained.

“The hearing world and the [deaf world] are trying to communicate,” he continued. “I definitely want people to understand that deaf customers can have a really great review.”

The Power of Feeling Heard


Piracha’s story reminds us just how important it is that people feel seen and heard. No one wants to feel ignored or less than, especially because of a disability. But sometimes, those of us who are more fortunate in life forget that and need a reminder like this.

Not everyone will be in a situation where they could learn sign language to make a difference. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting down your phone and giving another person 100 percent of your attention. Or maybe it means taking the time to speak to someone from a different walk of life the next time you’re in line at a grocery store or a fast food place.

Or, maybe it could be learning sentences in another language to better communicate with a neighbor or an older person you know whose first tongue isn’t English. However you take the time to communicate with those around you and practice those active listening skills, this story reminds us that your simple efforts definitely won’t go unnoticed.


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