Two camps have emerged in response to the threat of climate change: Those who realize it is a very real and pressing problem that must be dealt with head on, and those who prefer shouting “Lalala, I can’t hear you over the sound of my coal-fueled SUV.” But now there’s a third option, an alternative approach that taunts “Come at me, bro,” to the literal rising tides around us. Meet China’s “Starbucks Uncle,” a guy who sat in a Starbucks as it flooded, because he doesn’t have time for climate change. While Hong Kong braced itself for Super Typhoon Haima earlier this week, the Chinese news agency TV Most circulated this photo of a man casually sipping a drink while reading a newspaper in a shopping mall Starbucks as floodwaters lap at his feet.
You may think that image can’t get any better, but allow us to correct your assumption: Here’s a picture that surfaced showing very patient Starbucks staff members waiting on Starbucks Uncle to finish reading that day’s Garfield comic strip.
But wait! There’s more. You are not alone in thinking that Starbucks Uncle can be a role model during these divisive and dangerous times. Another patron decided to occupy the table right next to him, after an internal monologue that could have only proceeded as follows:
“Man, my loved ones and I should really seek shelter from this super typhoon, but I would love to eat a cherry cheese Danish to a Norah Jones song. Why, who is this knight in shining armor seated before me? He appears completely unfazed by the horrific storm approaching our city. And is that a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte in front of him? You know what? My wife and child can wait.”
Of course, the internet has already gotten their Photoshopping hands on the photos, resulting in a host of pretty great alternative takes featuring Starbucks Uncle in a variety of similar situations.
News outlets have reached out to TV Most in an attempt to track down this week’s viral sensation—sorry Ken Bone, you’re dead to us—but as of this writing, he remains rightfully anonymous. We don’t need a real name for Starbucks Uncle; we only need his exemplary stubbornness in the face of ecological catastrophe. It’s certainly one way to approach the literal and figurative deluge.