UT barista Stanley Sutton spreads positivity with acts of kindness

Sofia Treviño

After a trip to the Union Coffee House, a student immediately alerts the Kinsolving GroupMe. She finally found the person a devoted group of residents had been on the lookout for — Stanley the barista.

No, it is not a celebrity sighting, but to the Kinsolving group chat, a “Stanley sighting” might as well be one.

“I think he brings us together kind of the same way that Domino the (campus) cat does, which is weird to say about a person, but everybody really enjoys all of their interactions with Stanley,” said Maiya Keutz, a radio-television-and film freshman.

Stanley Sutton, a barista for University Housing and Dining, worked at Kins Coffee during the fall 2020 semester, where he connected with residents through conversation. He was transferred to the Union Coffee House this spring, leaving Kinsolving residents wondering where Sutton was and missing the familiar face.

“(With) the daily conversations I have with the Kinsolving students, I’ve somehow connected with them and created this bond that I’ve never really created anywhere else,” the 31-year-old said. “That’s huge to me.”

For many Kinsolving residents, interacting with Sutton’s positive energy at Kins Coffee was something to look forward to. Some still get excited about spotting him at different locations around campus and saying hello.

“When you have somebody genuinely putting in that effort for you, it’s a ripple effect into your own day and how you treat others based on that positive energy that was given to you,” said Kaylee Loggins, a speech, language, and hearing sciences freshman. “During these times, something as simple as somebody telling you to have a good day is so impactful.”

After growing up in Los Angeles, Sutton attended Oklahoma State University and has worked as a barista in Seattle, Dallas and now, Austin. He said he plans on receiving his master’s degree in communication at UT.

“I don’t want to make coffee forever, but I want to do something meaningful with my life and just knowing Kinsolving residents appreciate (me) makes me very flattered and very humbled,” Sutton said.

When Sutton comes across another Kinsolving resident, he said he jokingly calls the group of students his “little Longhorns.” He said his supervisor once told him he has a “Kinsolving cult.”

“Life can be pretty crazy nowadays, especially with the pandemic going on. My mantra was that when you come to Kinsolving, you can just take a quick breath, get a nice little drink; if you want to chat, I’ll be down to chat about whatever,” Sutton said. “I just want to give (students) a fun experience … because with college (these) days, (it) can be a little rough.”

Eventually, Sutton hopes to be promoted within UHD and manage a coffee shop on campus.

“I can put myself in a lot of people’s shoes and just do my best to help alleviate that stress as best I can,” Sutton said. “The world needs more kindness nowadays. Hopefully, I can inspire others to do the same.”