Dewayne Dancer took on a second job as a concierge of kindness


Christine Vo

Radio personality Dewayne Dancer welcomes a guest, now a friend, into Starbucks on Nov. 18 in Arlington. Dancer catches up with regulars as he continues to welcome other customers.

Jonathan Perriello, Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas—At a Starbucks in the crook of Fielder and Randol Mill, a pale spring morning tinged with winter’s chill slipped up the sleeves and down the collars of bundled up patrons, pushing their lips into a frown. With chins tucked tight and their eyes hidden beneath furrowed brows they shuffled toward the door as bitter as the breeze.

Before their hands left their pockets the door opened and a hearty “top of the Morning to ya!,” peels back their lids and upturns their frowns through a toothy grin from Dewayne Dancer, the friendly neighborhood personality.

Nestled just right of the entrance amid a throng of healthily weathered friends, Dancer greets every person with warmth and kindness. Whether they are coming or going, or he is mid conversation, Dancer hops quickly to his feet to open the door and wish each guest a happy day.

“Your chariot awaits and have a great day,” Dancer said as he held the door for a gentle young woman whose hands were full of steaming coffee.

“You are so nice, Mr. Dewayne,” she said, and her smile held through the cold.

And it was not merely happenstance that found Dancer there spreading his positivity. For him it has been a three-hour gig Monday through Friday for the last 35 years. It is a talent that he has carried with him from a career in radio to the window bar of coffee shops.

As a boy Dancer dreamed of being an on-air radio host. Around 1970, at 16 years old, he debuted on WUFO in Buffalo, New York. From there his career took him to Dallas, where he continued to hone his craft.

But in 1985, Dancer said he was let go from 107.5, a local radio station, which paved the way for him to become a concierge of kindness.

“I’ve always felt you should never let your circumstances dictate your attitude,” he said.

And a few days after being fired, Dancer said he walked into a 7 Eleven and noticed the manager hustling back and forth with empty coffee pots strewn about.

“Hey what’s with the coffee,” Dancer teased, and the manager apologized, admitting he was shorthanded and overwhelmed.

“Tell you what,” Dancer said. “Show me how to make the coffee, I’ll make [it] and you tell people to have a great day, I’ll tell them have a great day and maybe people will leave with a great day.”

Since that day for nearly 16 years, Dancer donated his time spreading smiles and serving coffee until a new manager fired him from his volunteer position in 2001. But the void left by Dancer’s absence lay impressed on the heart of the neighborhood, and he said it wasn’t long before they missed his short order optimism.

Dancer said he then went to a Starbucks on a trial basis where he began opening the door for customers with his warm welcomes and found himself returning each weekday morning for over 20 years.

“If you start your day with [positivity] sometimes your whole day will be good. And that was the purpose in doing this,” he said.

Although Dancer has been accosted with the occasional “I don’t have money for you” attitude, most of his interactions have been heart wrenchingly positive.

Radio personality Dewayne Dancer welcomes guests to Starbucks on Nov. 18 in Arlington. Dancer has built relationships with customers through his acts of kindness.
Radio personality Dewayne Dancer welcomes guests to Starbucks on Nov. 18 in Arlington. Dancer has built relationships with customers through his acts of kindness. (Christine Vo)

One moment that stood out for him came after telling a woman, “Don’t forget, that people need you.” And the following day she returned with a card that said those words changed her life.

“She said ‘I was going to be a physical therapist, but I got into a terrible car accident, and I had decided that I can’t do that for a living. But you reminded me that that was my calling and I want to thank you,’” Dancer said.

Not only does Dancer spread love, happiness and positivity for their own sake, but also for the health and wellness of his community. Once he was asked “Why are you so kind?” To which he offered, “Why not?”

“This is a calling,” he said. “Because I never would have dreamed I would be doing this in my entire life.”

In a world now plagued with war and death, Dewayne Dancer, The Mayor of Starbucks, is the bold incandescence that shines through the darkness. And for those who miss his in-person Starbucks shows, Dancer is an on-air personality for Westwood One Radio Networks, where he is featured on five different music formats.

“To be honest a lot of people who pretend to be kind oftentimes are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” Dancer said. “You need some people to remind the world that there is still some good here.”