If it wasn’t for an unfriendly barista with a surprising connection… 


7/27/2007 Olympia, Washington

Mariana, a 24yr old German student was waking up to her first morning in the United States. She had flown in from Hamburg, Germany the night before. Jetlagged and a little homesick, she walked to the nearest cafe to have a coffee and skype with her family.

She asked the male barista for the Internet login. “He was rude to me,” she recalled. “When the internet wasn’t connecting, he told me ‘I should be able to figure it out.’ So I left and went to another coffee shop.”

She walked across the street to Starbucks where she ordered a latte and was given Internet access from a very friendly barista, Chance.

“I thought she was cute.” Chance remembered, “I was flirting with her a bit and she seemed to flirt back. Then she went outside to sit in the patio.”

Chance decided his next best action would be to pretend to need to sweep by her table. As he swept, he gathered the courage to ask her out. “So there’s a solstice party tonight,” Chance said to her, “If you don’t have anything to do, wanna go?” She said yes.

That evening, a few cars pulled up filled with “all sorts of hippie characters who were giving us a ride,” Chance said. “In retrospect, it was pretty brave of her to jump in the car with a bunch of strangers and drive out to the woods.”

“Yeah,” Mariana said, “but somehow I knew I could trust him.”

They settled beside a bonfire, watched fire dancers, and got lost in hours of conversation. Later in the night, they were laying under the stars. “I went to hold her hand,” Chance remembered.

“You tried to kiss me too,” Mariana said. “Didn’t work.”

“But you held my hand.” Chance said, smiling.

“It’s true.” Mariana admitted. “We were basically together from that moment on. We shared all our free time together the rest of that summer.”

They visited one another every three months for the next year and a half, at which point Chance sold off his belongings and left for Germany to spend a year with Mariana while she finished school.

Chance said, “I didn’t have much money, but I bought her a little ring and asked her to marry me on New Years Eve.”

Mariana said yes and that “the ring only lasted two weeks.”

“Yeah it broke,” Chance said laughing.

With two friends as witnesses, they married at a Los Angeles courthouse six years ago and have lived in Venice ever since.

Serendipitously, the unfriendly barista who acted as the impetus for Mariana to cross the street and go to a different coffee shop that first morning happened to be Chance’s brother.

Chance created a sweet video for Mariana to commemorate their one year anniversary. You can check it out here.