12/08/06 — A little mocha with the mayor

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A little mocha with the mayor

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 8, 2006 1:45 PM

He traded in his blazer for a green apron and his gavel for a tray of hot holiday drinks.

But for Mayor Al King, serving the Goldsboro residents who came into Starbucks on this cold, December morning didn't seem like work at all -- it was just another opportunity to help a great cause -- the United Way.

So, when the novice barista stepped outside the Berkeley Boulevard coffee shop, he had no complaints about the sub-freezing temperature or the wind -- just a smile and a "Good morning" from Al King.

"Cold? No, man. I'm just warming up," he said, approaching one of the many cars lined around the drive-thru.

His tray was crowded with hot holiday treats -- a peppermint mocha for an airman on his way to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, an eggnog latte for a woman driving her children to school.

"If it's good, I made it," King told one of them.

By 8:30, he was already halfway through his shift and the tip jar back inside was starting to fill up with crisp 10 and 20 dollar bills. King said all the proceeds will go toward the $1.44 million goal set by the United Way.

"I'm working hard for them back here," he said.

Getting a cup of joe from Goldsboro's mayor was, in itself, a tribute to the fundraising efforts of Wayne County residents. King agreed to show up late to City Hall this morning if 70 percent of the goal was reached.

And when the hat came off and he resumed his duties on Center Street, King left the next challenge on the table.

Once 80 percent of the $1.44 million comes in, the spectacle will pick back up a few blocks away on Ash Street at Krispy Kreme, where Wayne residents will be able to get a hot doughnut from their sheriff, Carey Winders.

And there are other rewards for the community, too.

At 90 percent, Cincinnati Reds manager and Goldsboro native Jerry Narron will read to young children at Wayne County Public Library -- and all will receive hot chocolate, again courtesy of Starbucks. And once all $1.44 million is raised, local attorney and United Way campaign chairman Geoff Hulse will skydive from a plane at 14,000 feet.

The morning had been a successful one and although his shift had neared its end, King still had time to serve a few men who serve the United States every day.

"I've got to serve these guys," he said, walking toward a pair of airmen. "Here, have one of these."

Maj. Scott Teel took a sip.

"That was very good," he said. "Thank you, sir."