To my surprise, despite the early hour, several of the newsstands and food shops were open -- including a plate glass-walled, well-lit Starbucks complete with comfortable easy chairs. I got a grande latte and a bagel with cream cheese, plopped myself down in an easy chair, and just soaked it up. The latte. The chair. The lighting. The openness afforded by the glass -- not your usual dark, cluttered airport restaurant. The music.
I've been to Starbucks before. But this is the first time that what they're trying to do really hit me. That chair, music, coffee, lighting, and openness was so what I needed just then. And it was amazing how I felt just sitting there. If Starbucks can figure out how to deliver that feeling consistently -- even when I'm not 5 a.m. red-eye Atlanta stopover tired and needing a safe haven -- they'll be golden.