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Starbucks U.K. trained its staff to be more parent-friendly. Here's what that means.

Get ready for emergency diapers and bottle-warming services.

Starbucks U.K. trained its staff to be more parent-friendly. Here's what that means.

As if we needed another reason to love Starbucks: It's making a major effort to welcome and support parents and their babies.

If you're a parent, you've probably been here: You’re exhausted and sleep-deprived and all you want from life is a caramel Frappuccino, but you don’t feel like enduring the stares and/or comments you’ll receive if, heaven forbid, your little one needs to cry or nurse while you’re sucking in that sweet life force through a green straw.

... so you endure a sad, sad Frappuccino-less day.



GIF via “The Office.”

But Starbucks U.K. gets it. It's collaborating with the National Childbirth Trust to make every Starbucks in the U.K. (that’s 800+ Starbucks) parent-friendly.

The National Childbirth Trust created its Parent Friendly Places Charter to recognize organizations that have committed to welcoming parents and being responsive to parents’ needs.

“We want all of our customers to have a good experience at Starbucks,” Rhys Iley, vice president of operations for Starbucks EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), said in a press release. “And we recognize that parents out on their own with very young children, sometimes for the first time, appreciate some support.”

Photo via Starbucks, used with permission.

What does it mean to be “parent-friendly”?

Emergency diapers, help when you need it, and improved store design with parents in mind.

“We know from our members, that many struggle with unwanted attention and comments on their feeding method whether it’s by breast, bottle or in a high chair, when out and about with their baby or child,” Dr. Sarah McMullen, head of research and quality at NCT, said in a press release. “It’s important that parents feel reassured they have the support of staff and won’t be judged.”

Forgot your diaper bag? Need a bottle warmed? Can’t find a seat or need help carrying something? Starbucks’ U.K. staff have now been trained to be there for parents when they need it most: when they’re venti tired and need a break.

GIF via “The Lego Movie.”

I'm a Starbucks fiend and breastfeeding mama who rarely takes her kids out in public because it's too stressful, so this would be a game-changer for me (and for groggy parents everywhere).

Bravo, Starbucks U.K.

Hopefully this is the start of a corporate trend that will find its way to the States sooner rather than later.

GIF via U.S. Women's Soccer.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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