In 2005, after dropping her daughter off at school, Grace Bae saw a job advertisement at a nearby Starbucks and applied to be a barista. She’d been searching for jobs but felt she was being rejected due to her age.
Grace Bae: I started working at the age of 39, and I’m already in my 50s, but my goal is to work for a long time because I’m good at managing my physical strength. A cup of coffee can be the start of someone’s day or a precious moment to enjoy with others, so I try to craft every beverage wholeheartedly.
Hope: Starbucks, where my mother worked, was my hangout place. After school, I used to do homework with my friends at Starbucks and wait for my mom to finish her work. It was a familiar space. Most of my childhood memories were with Starbucks. My mom taught me know-how to memorize things easily. It’s a strange and special experience that I still have ‘buddy’ customers. These days, I have regular customers who ask me what’s going on (after I’ve been away). This workplace has become a precious part of my life, and means as much to me as it does to my mother.