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A swing-shift barista (that’s a ‘coffee chef’ to those who don’t live in the heavily-caffeinated Pacific Northwest) violated company policy by wearing a concealed pistol while he worked at a Eugene, Oregon Dutch Bros. coffee kiosk alone and after dark. He has worked for Dutch Bros. for three years, and is trained and experienced with firearms, according to reports. Guess what happened next?

On the evening of November 24th, his kiosk was robbed by an armed man and an accomplice. In the resulting exchange of gunfire, the barista survived thanks to his instincts, his training, and his gun. (And luck, of course.) The robber was 27 year-old Sirus Combs, whose preparation was a gun in his pocked and a long career as a criminal, and whose mindset was that of a sociopathic predator. Combs died in the parking lot, and his accomplice fled.

Up to this point there’s nothing particularly positive about this story, other than that a hardworking young man was not robbed and murdered. But here’s were we discover a few more people who clearly get it, and who did the right thing. The Lane County District Attorney announced that the barista would not face any criminal charges for acting in self-defense. In this case, at least, the DA gets it.

Then there’s the barista’s boss, Travis Boersma. He and his brother started the Dutch Bros. coffee chain in 1992. Instead of firing the young man for violating company policy, Boersma told, “Under this unique circumstance, the (barista) who went through this horrific event did everything to protect his own life.”

All of the employees of the kiosk were given a week’s paid leave after the shooting, and the barista was given 30 days paid leave along with paid counseling as well. His job will be waiting for him when he’s ready to come back, Boersma said. The company has hired private security to guard the kiosk for the indefinite future, and in the meantime Dutch Bros. is re-examining the ‘no-firearms’ policy from the ground up. “We want to make sure (that policy) is in the best interest of our employees,” he said.

Hats off to Travis Boersma, and to Dutch Bros. Coffee, for getting it as well.

The barista, whose name has never been released, is alive and well. He won’t face any legal trauma to aggravate the psychological trauma he’s certainly experiencing, and his employer is going above and beyond the call, supporting him with paid leave and paid counseling. Perhaps equally important, the employer is taking a fresh look at the universal but  irrational ‘no weapons’ employee policy that would have cost this young man his life.

As far as fatal shootings go, there are no storybook endings; this is as close as it gets. Now that it’s over, I’m going to find myself a Dutch Bros. coffee kiosk and have a cup.

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  1. I do not drink coffe, having said that, if I ever see one of their kiosk I am buying something!


  2. Of course, if he had just given the thugs the money and called the police nobody would be dead, the thugs would be in jail and nobody would fear a wild west mentality with people firing guns in metropolitan areas.

    • What if after he gave the thugs money, the thugs proceeded to kill him anyways. And since barista is dead, the cops never got called. There are stories where thugs still kill, even after they get what they wanted.

  3. You are just guessing “Audey” and its more than a bit offensive that this barista should rely upon your guess as to the robbers intentions when the risk is his life. The people who created the faux “Wild West” mentality were the armed robbers.

  4. “nobody would be dead, the thugs would be in jail and nobody would fear..”

    Huh? More like, “the Barista would be dead, with no living witness the thugs would not be caught or in jail, and the community would fear the thug-mentality that continues to roam the streets with impunity.”

    Thugs who use a gun in robberies kill as often as not, whether you hand over the money to them or not. Cops don’t catch the Thuglies until they get a lucky break after dozens of robberies. And locally, citizens live in fear of such rampant Thug-uglies – not of responsible gun owners.

  5. I wonder if the barista will encounter a civil lawsuit from the thug’s kin. Surely they’ll assert he was “a victim in a robbery.”

  6. And the sad thing is that a civil suit wouldnt be thrown out of court…unfortunately the courts don’t like weigh common sense and the law equally. If they did they’d laugh in the faces of the thug’s kin.

  7. Kudos to Dutch Bros and kudos to this brave young man. I live nearby and if I ever come across a Dutch Bros kiosk, you can bet I will stop in and have a cup and let them know they did a good thing.

  8. I’m going to the local Dutch Brothers here today I think. I’ll probably try to talk to the coffee slinger for a few minutes, and maybe invite him to go shooting, especially if he’s never gone before.

  9. All three young men were wrong to have guns- sepecially the Barista as it was against the policy of his employer. As many expected, the barista is not the upstanding young man he portrays but rather a gun slinging drug dealing punk. I will never again purchase anything from any Dutch Bros due to their stand on this tragic event.

    • Um, Jill, who said anything about drugs? We don’t know why the barista had his gun that night. We can all make guesses, but none of that matters. What matters is that this barista protected his own life & Dutch Bros property & earnings. Not everybody is that brave! I applaud Dutch Bros for being flexible with their policies & changing them when they see the need! Not to worry. I’ll buy more from Dutch Bros to cover the business they are losing from you!!!

  10. So what, if anything, did Dutch Brothers do to their policy? They are just about to open their first outlet in my area, and I want to catch up to see if they’re worth patronizing.

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