28-year-old Justin Drake of Nashville, Tennessee, recently blew a gasket when his girlfriend, Cara Shiley, yet again expected him to foot the bill – this time for her fancy coffee drink.
“I lost my shit," acknowledged Justin, “It wasn't pretty.”
According to Justin, he and Cara had just stopped into an East Nashville coffee shop for a quick cuppa before they hit the road to a music festival in Memphis. When the barista rang up their drinks, it became clear that Cara had left her wallet in the car – and Justin hit the roof.
“Now, keep in mind that I pay for everything,” said Justin. “I don't mind that much, even though Cara makes insane tips tending bar on Broadway. But for her to abandon even any pretense of sometimes being willing to chip in once in a while – or even treat? I mean, come on. That was what pushed me over the edge.”
On her part, Cara felt that Justin's outrage was above and beyond. “At first I thought he was kidding,” she recounted. “We all did. Some people even started laughing until we realized, holy Jesus, he's actually serious! I was like dude, chill the f*** out.”
As barista Shane Hill tells it, after he rang up Justin's coffee and Cara's soy latte and Cara looked to Justin to pay, Justin all but spontaneously combusted. “It was wild,” said Shane. “First, he started kind of shuffling around and mumbling to himself like a crazy person. And then, all of a sudden, he banged both his fists on the counter, hard, and yelled, 'Of course! Of course she's got to have the six-dollar soy latte. And she's not even vegan!'"
Shane added that for several minutes following that initial explosion, Justin continued muttering, over and over again, “This isn't happening. This is not happening,” even as he reached into his back pocket for his wallet.
In that moment, Shane explained, he realized it was on him to de-escalate the situation. He did so by quipping to Justin, “Strictly decaf for you from now on, man!”
Following his lead, Cara gave Justin a placating kiss on the cheek and said, “I'll get it next time, sweetie – promise.”
Their calming efforts worked. Justin cooled off a bit. He paid the bill with his credit card, even leaving Shane a generous tip.
At that point, Cara felt safe enough to remind him, “I told you I wanted to go vegan, or at least give up dairy - remember?”
In fact, Justin did remember. “That's cool, baby,” he told her. “I support you.”
Now, days later, Justin and Cara laugh about the gasket-blowing incident.
“I feel a little silly about it now," he says. "Weird conspiracy of circumstances. Just one of those things, I guess."
Cara agrees. “It could have happened to anyone.”