County and courthouse employees are enjoying some free caffeine today after a woman who had a particularly pleasant experience at the downtown offices donated a $1,000 gift card to Coffee Cat with instructions that public staffers should receive their orders free of charge. Coffee Cat manager Alex Troup said Cindy McGowan called ahead of time to ask if she could set up the donation. The gift card sales started this morning and about half of the $1,000 has been used up so far.

“She said she had been out this way and that everyone had been very helpful,” Troup said of McGowan, an area resident. Troup said McGowen was content to use the honor system to verify employees, and that the coffee shop has been particularly busy all day. While Troup put up a sign and made a few phone calls to county and courthouse regulars — the Santa Barbara County government headquarters sits right across the street from Coffee Cat — the message quickly spread by word of mouth.

“It’s been great,” said Troup before passing along a big thanks to McGowen, who said Coffee Cat employees should also use the card for their own drinks. “People think it’s really nice. They think it’s really awesome someone was willing to do that for them.”


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