It was cold! Nicole and her friends hurried into the busy café to warm up for a few minutes. As they stood inside, Nicole glanced at the menu.
“I’m going to get some hot chocolate,” she said.
“Me too,” Beth said.
Audrey looked at her watch, and Heather said, “We don’t have much time. Remember, my mom is picking us up at two o’clock.”
Nicole looked at the long line. It would sure be nice to have a cup of hot chocolate to keep her warm while they finished their Christmas shopping. “Beth and I will meet you in the clothing store next door,” she told Heather. “We won’t take long.”
Heather and Audrey left, and Beth and Nicole got in line.
“Look, they have French vanilla,” Beth said, pointing at the menu.
Nicole’s eyes brightened. “Yum! I love French vanilla hot chocolate.” But then she frowned, a little uncertain. “It doesn’t say French vanilla hot chocolate,” she said. “It just says French vanilla.” She bit her lip. “Isn’t there a French vanilla coffee too?”
Beth shrugged. When it was Nicole’s turn to order, she asked the employee about it, just in case.
“It’s hot chocolate,” the lady behind the counter assured her.
“Great!” Nicole said. “I’ll have a large French vanilla.”
Beth ordered one too, and they left the café. When they met up with Heather and Audrey, Nicole sniffed her steaming cup. She gasped. “I think this is French vanilla coffee!”
Beth took a sip. “I think so too. But oh well. It’s nice and hot. I’m getting all warmed up.”
“But it’s coffee!”
Nicole told her friend, “I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m not supposed to drink coffee.”
“You can drink coffee this one time,” Heather said impatiently. “You don’t have to be perfect every second of the day. We won’t tell anyone. Just come on. We need to hurry.”
Nicole could see that the line in the café was now even longer, and they didn’t have much time left to shop. But she knew what she needed to do. “I’m going to exchange this for hot chocolate,” she said firmly. “You guys go ahead. I’ll meet you at the toy store.”
She started to walk away alone, but Audrey caught up to her. “I’ll wait with you,” she said. Audrey was a Latter-day Saint too.
As the girls stood in line, Audrey said, “I’m glad you didn’t drink the coffee.”
Nicole smiled. “Me too.”
When Nicole explained to the lady behind the counter that the drink was actually coffee, the lady apologized and exchanged it for hot chocolate. Then Nicole and Audrey hurried through the cold to catch up with their friends. Nicole felt warm inside, but not just from the hot chocolate. She knew she had chosen the right. Despite what her friends had said about no one ever knowing, Heavenly Father knew. And she felt He would be proud of her.
“Distinguish yourself from worldly crowds. … Choose to be different; you will be blessed both physically and spiritually.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Addiction or Freedom,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 8.