Starbucks helps student come out of his shell


Victoria Gaytan

Bryan Rivera serving customers

Customers pulling into the Starbucks drive thru at Fourth and Rangeline are typically welcomed with a “Howdy!” as they place their order.

More likely than not, those people are talking to Brayan Rivera, one of the store’s baristas. 

Rivera, a junior radiology major at Missouri Southern, said he considered himself a shy person before joining Starbucks in October 2016.

He credits his job at Starbucks for breaking him out of his shell. 

“I talk to people at drive thru and you make jokes with people so all that definitely helped me with my social skills,” Rivera said.

Since joining Starbucks, Rivera said he’s learned a lot about what it means to be a barista and Starbucks partner, which is another term for employee.

Rivera said there is more to the job than fulfilling drink orders.

“You don’t know what people are going through,” he said. “So being friendly for two minutes can change the customer’s entire world.”

Life at Starbucks

Rivera is grateful for the opportunities and benefits Starbucks provides employees, from the life insurance to a free Spotify account. 

He believes this is what sets the company apart from other competitors.

“Not only do they care about their customers, but they care about their employees,” said Rivera. “I’ve never seen a coffee shop that has so many benefits as Starbucks.”

As a barista, Rivera knows how to craft the classics like lattes and macchiatos, and he is also familiar with the secret menu items that go viral online. 

Due to popular demand, the “pink drink” become a cult favorite. The drink mixes the Strawberry Acai Refresher with coconut milk. 

“It was so popular,” Rivera said. “[It] blew up so much that we actually have it in the store and it’s a real thing.” 

Rivera said every drink is his favorite to make. His goal is to do the best he can to make the customer happy.

“My favorite part is when I make a drink really good and the customer looks at me and says, ‘this is the best coffee I’ve ever had,’ he said. ”That’s when I know I’m good at my job.”

More about Rivera

From Carolina, Puerto Rico, Rivera moved around a lot because of his father’s career in the U.S. Army.

The moves meant every few years his dad would be stationed in a new place, which meant a new start for Rivera, his four siblings, and mother who is a pharmacy technician.

He attended high school in Clarksville, Tennessee, and after graduation moved to Fort Leonard Wood. Rivera’s interest in radiology brought him to Missouri Southern. 

Rivera plans to stay at Starbucks until he can start a career in radiology. He would like to be an MRI technician or help cancer patients in radiation therapy.

“I’m just grateful,” said Rivera. “It’s definitely a life-changer. I enjoy working at Starbucks.”