Latte of Love: My Starbucks Blind Date

I was set up on my first (and only) blind date, after a breakup that left me devastated. I was completely Taylor Swifting it—vowing to not date anyone for a while. I was busy working as a reporter, and for once, my life seemed in order.

I walked into my apartment building one evening thinking about all the work I still had to do. Kiana, who worked at the front desk, was chatting with a woman I thought lived in my building. They motioned for me to come over. I sighed but complied. “We have something to ask you,” Kiana said.

They showed me a photo of a man in his early 30s, posing with the woman who was chatting with Kiana, who turned out to be a coworker of the mysterious man in the photo. I was puzzled, looking down at the man with the pleasant smile and warm, beautiful blue eyes. “We want you to go on a date with this guy.”

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Kiana knew I was newly single, and being that we had bonded on our mutual love of the Pittsburgh Steelers, she thought I would be perfect for Brad, a sports lover and rumored fellow Steeler fan.

I said yes, figuring it was just a fleeting idea, and the two would forget about it.

The following evening, I was watching TV and heard a knock at my door. I went to answer it and found no one there. Looking down, I noticed an envelope. I opened it, and found a Starbucks gift card inside. A message read: “For your date.” I marched downstairs and asked Kiana why the two were being so adamant about this man. “We think you have similar tendencies,” was their curiously cryptic response.

That weekend, while visiting my sister, I told her about the setup. “You could always write about it!” She said. She was right. I had to take the chance. Even if it didn’t work out, it could make a great story. I returned home and agreed to get together with Brad, the man from the photograph.

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We met the day after I covered the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for work, when I was so tired that all I cared about was when I could sleep that evening. Three o’clock came around, and I got ready for what would be a “quick” blind date and didn’t think much of it. Three hours later, as the sun was setting on the unseasonably warm April evening, I snapped out of my enchantment. I was hooked. We talked and talked without a single lull in the conversation. Talking to Brad now, we both don’t remember exactly what we talked about that day, we both just knew we left very happy and definitely wanted to see each other again. It turns out, Kiana was right about having “similar tendencies.” Brad and I share similar values and our senses of humor are a perfect match.

Five years later, Brad’s been with me through being laid off, the deaths of two grandparents and our family dogs. We now have a dog together, have gone on adventures like a trip to Atlanta to see his beloved Braves and to concerts to see all of our favorite musicians like Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake. There have been good days and bad days, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Throughout the past five years, I honestly can say I’ve laughed at some point every day.

My blind date helped me learn to take chances. And that’s paid off in other aspects of my life too. I took the chance to go to graduate school to study education, and now I’m a piano teacher and freelance writer. I feel extremely fulfilled with the chance I took to be my own boss. I can make my own hours and decide the trajectory of my career on my own terms. I will be forever grateful for those women coming into my life at the right time, encouraging me to take a risk.

So, the next time someone wants to set you up on a blind date, go for it. You never know where it will lead. I don’t remember what I ordered that day at Starbucks, but I am sure glad I went.

Kate Oczypok

Kate Oczypok is a freelance writer and piano teacher living in the D.C. area. She regularly contributes to D.C.-based publications and has written for Brides.com and a few wedding blogs. She enjoys entertaining, movies and spending time with her boyfriend and their hilarious English bulldog Moe.