After deciding to add a bag of (Starbucks) RED brand coffee on top of his vente mocha latte order, area man Bill West completed the final piece of the puzzle to end the AIDS epidemic in Africa, which claimed the lives of over 1.4 million people in 2008 alone.
The mood was subdued at the local Starbucks where the historic purchase was made, as many did not realize the gravity of West's last-minute decision to purchase the $11.95 bag of coffee. But as the news spread around the world, communities erupted in celebration.
"This is a great day for humanity," said Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where Starbucks made the $1 donation--taken from West's purchase--needed to rid the continent of the disease that had crippled it for decades. "All of our work, all of our time, all of our hopes are now validated by this one last push to end AIDS in Africa."
Health workers from Cairo to Cape Town were finally able to rest after years of working against an overwhelming stream of growing infection rates. People in even the most remote villages of the African Savannah joined together in the mass celebration that pulsed with joy and spread around the world.
"It's over! It's over!" cried one formerly-affected African as she danced with her friends and family in Ghanzi, a remote village in Botswana, a country which once had the highest rates of the disease before its eradication. "We are free!"
Most people received news of the disease's defeat but glossed over how the victory was won. Bono, humanitarian activist and U2 front-man, reached out to the broader global community to recognize the efforts of the people that made it possible.
"It is important to remember what went into this momentous occasion," said the rock star, one of the founders of the Product RED brand. "The Product RED line successfully mobilized Western consumers to go out and buy things they either already had or only moderately desired under the guise of social responsibility. With out these compassionate consumers, or the compassionate Starbucks marketing directors who decided to give up razor-thin amounts of their profit margin to the Global Fund in exchange for the Product Red partnership, this debilitating disease would still be destroying Africa."
RED, in partnership with the Global Fund and the One Campaign, created an website where individuals could go to thank West for his purchase. In a matter of hours, over 10 million had visited the site.
West was tracked down by reporters minutes after the purchase, halfway through his latte. He remained calm and humble when he learned the service he had done for the world.
"I was just doing my part," West said.