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Michael Gates Gill on How Starbucks Saved His Life

How one man’s career went from advertising executive to jobless to the best job of his life... serving coffee at Starbucks.

Date: June 27, 2008

Podcast #: 08-26

Price: Free


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Michael Gates Gill had it all. But by the time he turned 60, he had lost everything except his Ivy League education and his sense of entitlement. First he was downsized at work; next, an affair ended his 20 year marriage. Then he was diagnosed with a slow growing brain tumor. Gill had no money, no health insurance, and no prospects. One day as Gill sat in a Manhattan Starbucks, a 28 year old Starbucks manager named Crystal Thompson approached him, half joking, to offer him a job. With nothing to lose he took it and went from drinking coffee in a Brooks Brothers suit to serving it in a green apron. Michael Gates Gill is the son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill, and he was a Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson advertising where he was employed for over 25 years. Currently he lives in New York within walking distance of the Starbucks store where he works, and he has no plans to retire from what he calls the best job he's ever had. His book How Starbucks Saved My Life is in the works to become a Hollywood production.

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