Ten years for Teresa

Teresa D’Ambrosio celebrates with store managers, Melissa Allen and Travus Goforth.  - Contributed Photo
Teresa D’Ambrosio celebrates with store managers, Melissa Allen and Travus Goforth.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

Parents just love to brag about their kids. My oldest, Teresa, now age 32, is about to celebrate something we never dreamed of.

Our local Starbucks, affectionately known as the ‘Mercer Island Drive Thru,’ has employed Teresa for the past 10 years as their lobby busser. They have provided her with an opportunity to showcase her skills. When I’m there sipping a cocoa cappuccino, I can watch her keep the lobby — excuse me, ‘her lobby,’ beautiful. She wipes up spills, refills the condiment bar, picks up trash, checks the bathrooms and sweeps the outside patio, just to name a few of the 30 or so things she does during her 2½ hour shift.

For Teresa, being a lobby busser at Starbucks has become her life’s calling. She proudly wears the Starbucks uniform and matching jacket five days each week. After all, this is ‘her store.’ It’s been ‘her store’ for 10 years.

What most people probably don’t know is that Teresa was born with a rare bleeding disorder that wasn’t diagnosed correctly until it was almost too late. Emergency brain surgery was required to remove the clot that had formed in her head. That surgery also removed part of her brain, changing her life forever.

Through her early years, her life was full of supportive people through school vocational programs, family events and community activities. Once she turned 21, opportunities for activities outside the home and meaningful employment came to a screeching halt.  Her dad and I have worked through agencies, many with limited funding and resources, to advocate for her well-being and employment. And then, 10 years ago, our local Starbucks manager stepped up to bat and hired her.

Which brings us to Aug. 16, 2011, when Teresa’s managers, Travus and Melissa, along with district manager, Paulie, held a party to celebrate Teresa’s 10th year at Starbucks.

We remember so many of the baristas, and all of her wonderful managers.  There have been so many fabulous customers over the years. Hooray for the Puget Sound Blood Center. Hooray for Teresa. Hooray for Starbucks.

For more about this story and rare bleeding disorders, please go to


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