A Fort Dodge barista got the surprise of his life when he was escorted to the parking lot at his worksite and found that some of his customers had joined together to buy him a car. Taylor Bratland has worked at the Starbucks inside the Target in Fort Dodge for about two and a half years.

“I was incredibly blown away,” Bratland says. “I did not think anything like this was going to happen, especially on a random Thursday night in January.”

Linette Nelson spearheaded the project. She and her husband first met Bratland when they walked into the coffee shop and had no idea what to order. “Taylor approached us and asked us if he could help us pick out anything and I just asked him, from there: ‘What would you recommend?'” Nelson says, “and he was extremely excited to put together a surprise order for my husband and I.”

Nelson wrote a Facebook post about the experience and found out the barista had many fans in the Fort Dodge area.

“Looking back at that experience and interaction that my husband and I had with him, you could just tell he was just extremely kind in his genuineness that he shows to people,” Nelson says.

Nelson also discovered Bratland had been walking to work — even on the most frigid days — because he did not have a car.

“From all the comments that were on the post that I put on Facebook, it’s very obvious that he is well loved around the community,” Nelson says. “…Everybody was more than happy when we started adding to them to that group chat to get involved and see how we could make this happen for Taylor.”

Nelson says it took about two days for a group of people to put the plan together and get Bratland a used car.

(Brooke Bickford, KVFD, Fort Dodge)

Radio Iowa