Chad Bosquez wears a Pokemon belt to work.
The 24-year-old Starbucks supervisor keeps the fun and eccentric belt on while he makes drinks, oversees employees, and operates the drive-through at a Seattle store. Sometimes, he forgets he's wearing it -- until a customer points it out.
Nic Hartmann complimented the Pokeball-festooned belt while he and his wife, Jessie, were waiting in their car for their order one afternoon in September.
"Thanks," Bosquez replied. "I have a matching tattoo, too." They struck up a conversation that ended with Bosquez inviting the pair to a Pokemon league he and his fiancée run. But Bosquez soon realized that a newly hired worker still hadn't gotten the Hartmanns' order. He quickly made the last drink himself, gave it to the couple for free, and wished them a nice day.
About a week later, a coworker told him that a customer had left a note.
"You may not know this," it reads, "but the day you gave us that free drink and chatted to us about Pokemon, we were about to go put our dog down. Because of the positive energy of people like you, Rocky is now alive and recovering. Thanks for your kindness."
The Hartmanns, both 26, told The Huffington Post that they stopped at Starbucks that day on their way to visit their dog, Rocky, who was staying at an animal hosptial called Animal Critical Care & Emergency Services. The week before, vets had diagnosed the 3-year-old hound with a rare skin condition similar to Sweet's syndrome in humans, where grisly skin lesions appear. Rocky was quickly deteriorating.
"We were expecting to get grim news. We were expecting to put our best friend down," Nic Hartmann recalled. "But [Chad's] little bit of kindness made it seem like if that happens, the world's not going to end, people are still going to be kind to us. We may lose our best friend, but we'll have the kindness of strangers to keep us going."
That day, Dr. Richard Scroggin at the animal hospital told the Hartmanns he could try an experimental treatment on Rocky, but they should prepare themselves for the worst.
"We essentially said our goodbyes," Hartmann said. "We cried our eyes out."
But the next day at work, Hartmann received a call. Scroggin had some startling news.
"I think we have a dog here that's gonna make it," the vet said.
Rocky made a 180. Scroggin said that in his 17 years of work, he'd never seen a case like this turn around. Now, just two weeks later, Rocky's lesions are almost gone. He's back at home and feeling like his old self. And the Hartmanns can't help but think the Starbucks supervisor with the Pokemon belt has something to do with it.
Bosquez said he was just trying to be kind.
"I had no idea they were on their way to the vet for Rocky," Bosquez told HuffPost. "It felt great to know I could help brighten someone's day with just a little connection."
The Hartmanns know Rocky's recovery is the product of great doctoring, but they suspect more than medicine saved their pet.
"I'm not a spiritual man, but I honestly believe that Chad's act of kindness played a huge part in reversing Rocky's fortune," Nic Hartmann said. "Acts of kindness like that can change your mentality. Our spirits had been completely boosted that day when we decided to go ahead with the treatment."
"We hope," Jessie Hartmann added, "that we can do the same for him one day."