Meet Virginia: What Happened at Starbucks


March 28, 2013 by Isaac Hovet

Starbucks. Alone. Ear buds and Coldplay. My business is mine. It is the Kingdom. It is preparation time. Thinking about all the souls that will be present as we present the most import truth of history. The resurrection of Jesus. Type. Read. Listen. Ponder. Sip.

Meet Virginia.

Bursting through the double glass doors is the flurry of a large women decked out in Eugene paganism meets hippie meets living on the streets. Wild red hair. Wild eyes.

Loudly she protests about everything. Planted in the middle of a Starbucks living rooms seating arrangement, she lets fly on the other white, well-to-do patrons at Starbucks. Annoyed looks over the tops of laptops, eyes flashing.

Virginia tells no one listening everything about her.

I take my earbuds out. I am out of her line of sight. I fold up my MacBook. I gaze intently at her. I decide to try to listen. She doesn’t see me.

A fifty something directly across from her speaks up. He’s the direct, aggressive type. Probably businesses he’s created or led are still thriving. He’s on chapter 16 of the book in his hand. He’s annoyed. He says, we aren’t listening. Virginia says she knows and that she is talking to herself.

He suggests she go outside to talk to herself. She laughs. A gravelly, wounded laugh. I imagine that laugh is easily called upon as she endures insults, pain and abuse. Her smile is delightful, but it quickly squeezes back into a piercing grimace.

Now almost frothing with anger she continues her lively conversation with no one. She admits to multiple personalities. She knows the meaning of her given and assumed names. She’s Danish and Indian. Osborne is the name her family was given upon immigrating to the US. And Richard means, “Santa Claus.”

Again, white, annoyed man suggests she be quiet. She laughs.

Now I am seen…”WHAT?!” she says. Her eyes narrow. Adrenaline. Questions. What do I do? What would Jesus do? What would a social worker do? I tell her, to the dismay no doubt of the other patrons attempting to anonymously relax, “I am listening.” She takes me up on it.

She tells me more about her name Virginia. She lists the songs that use that name. She’s changed her name to Amber. She’s the descendant of a character from “Oh Brother Where art Thou?” She’s mad that they didn’t tell the rest of the story…but thats what they do…And then, she tells me about the bible…that most of it isn’t true, but what is true is the god Odin and his wife Virginia. In her eyes I see her searching for acceptance. I give it to her by listening. I pray that my love-filled heart can be experienced by her. I know this moment is going to be brief.

Meet twenty-something. 

He takes the vacated seat of business-novel-man. Hat over his big, blue eyes. Half shaven face. Smartphone in hand. When he sits, I pay no attention, for Virginia has me fascinated. I wonder about her stories. I wonder what it is like to be her. I wonder if I can pray for her. I wonder if anyone loves her. I regret my judgements about so many people who are like her. I find myself thankful that Starbucks has given me a living room to entertain someone like Virginia.

I glance at twenty-something. He is smirking. He says something under his breath. Virginia hears. “WHAT?!”

“They’re coming for ya!” he whispers.

“The cops?”

“Oh, yeah, they gonna drag you outta here.”

“What are you, a ‘PUNK?!’”

He continues to egg her on. He says, no one is listening. She replies, “I am talking TO HIM!” She points at me.

“He wants you gone, just like I do,” he says.

Virginia yells, “He is smiling at me!”

And I was. Truly, I was intrigued. I felt Jesus coming through me. I had been interrupted as I was preparing for the most important message of the year, but didn’t care a bit. God loves Virginia.

I speak up. “Dude, why are you picking on her?”

“Cuz, she’s stupid and she’s bugging me.”

Enter kind policeman. Loudly, but respectfully she begins to gather her belongings. The police officer knows her. He is kind, but firm. She walks over to me and shakes my hand and says, “Thank you for your kindness.”

He hand was smaller than I thought it would be. It was weaker. It was rough as I assumed it would be. I wonder how many times she’s raised that hand in defense or anger.

She leaves with two police officers.

And I confront twenty-something. I then get called a Punk-B**** Mother F***** about 12 times. He stands. He is in my face. “Your opinion of me means nothing!”

I walk away. I pray for Virginia. I pray for impatient businessman. I pray for angry twenty-something.

Demonic activity? Yes, in the pitiless barbs of a foolish young man. In the harsh annoyance of an older man. But, in Virginia I saw an acknowledgement of her sickness. And the strongholds of demons of generations. Sins of fathers. Sins of husbands. Her sins.

As she is escorted outside to be interviewed by police, she says, “meet me outside.” But, she is taken away by police.

We need the power of the resurrection. Not as an event, but as a constant renewal of death to life. A bunch of death in that faux-living room.

Glad to have met Virginia.

And the self-important ones that I could become.

Meet Virginia by Train

Well she wants to live her life

Then she thinks about her life

Pulls her hair back, as she screams

“I don’t really wanna live this life”

She only drinks coffee at midnight

When the moment is not right

Her timing is quite, unusual

You see her confidence is tragic, but her

Intuition magic

And the shape of her body?


Meet Virgina I can’t wait to

Meet Virgina….


11 thoughts on “Meet Virginia: What Happened at Starbucks

  1. Heidi says:

    Especially after our recent weekend conference, I am moved by your story here. And yes, THIS is what the resurrection was all about and WHY we need Him!

  2. Greg says:

    That is sad for a lot of reasons. For Virginia for twenty something for business-novel-man. I have seen people like Virginia and have been kind to them and have ignored them. For me the thing is that afterwords I never really feel good about it.

  3. Isaac Hovet says:

    I was thinking about you guys! Thanks for sharing what you did!

  4. Isaac Hovet says:

    Thanks Greg. yes, the rest of the story is my own questioning…should I have done more or less?

  5. Michael says:

    The way you told the story, I want to know more. So I could say more would have been better. Why did she get carried off? Was she actually wanted? Creating a scene isn’t typically something that gets you taken away to jail. They have bigger things to deal with and could have had a warning. We need to be more brave like you and stop worrying about what others will think. We may walk up to someone and just ask if you can pray, which may very possibly cause them to breakdown because they need help.

  6. Isaac Hovet says:


    You ask good questions and make good observations. I do know that there was an plain clothes officer in Starbucks earlier conversing with the baristas about a disturbance. She might have been there earlier. When I say she was taken away, I mean she was escorted off the premises by them. I don’t know that she was arrested. I do know she had to be escorted off a couple of times. She was quite agitated.

    In retrospect, I wonder if I should have followed her. Honestly, I was a bit confused and pretty discombobulated after my confrontation with the young guy. I went to the restroom to do some deep breathing to work out the adrenaline. I thought the guy was gonna hit me for a moment.

    Grace to you today…

  7. ktshibaka says:

    Reblogged this on Kelly Tshibaka and commented:
    This is the day True Love died. Because there is no greater purpose than loving people. And Jesus showed us the greatest love ever by laying down His life for us.

    So thankful for my pastor friend Isaac, who stopped preparing his message about the love of God and power of resurrection so He could live it out, right here, right now, in the life of a woman named Virginia.

  8. deb says:

    Wow! Thank you for introducing me to Virginia. Thank you for giving me an inkling of an idea how I can handle a situation like that. I don’t want to hide in corners when confronted by the harsh burst of reality, but we all do it sometimes. I want to be like the big guy who closes his Mac and says, “I’m listening” while smiling right into the eyes of the wild eccentric. And then. How do we shake the kind of words that the twenty-something splatters on us? How do we keep doing our best to do our best when others continue to kick our legs out from under us? The most important message of the year is the every day message of little bits of redemption just like that. Thank you Isaac for showing us how to be real. So I have an after thought as I have pondered this story more…how did the “confrontation” with the twenty-something” happen? What did you say to him that ticked him off so much (besides the mirror he probably looked at just as a result of the moment).

  9. Isaac Hovet says:

    Deb: After Virginia was taken out, I turned to the young man and asked, “Why do you have to pick on her like that?” He responed with “Get the F*** away from me!” We were sitting in the same seating arrangement, so I stood with my things in hand to leave and said, “the last thing she needs is to be picked on.”

    His toned then escalated and his vocabulary shrunk “You’re nothing but a….”

    I backed away and walked to the bathroom. I honestly thought he was going to hit me…so much anger…

  10. Roma says:

    Isaac, this is a great story. I am so glad you were aware of what God was doing amongst you to intersect in the life of Virginia. Also you have a fantastic writing style, keep it up!

  11. Isaac Hovet says:

    Thanks so much! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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