Beloved Tri-City barista 'had joy every single day'

Zade Hakki was featured by the Herald in 2016 while working the overnight shift at the Dutch Bros. in Kennewick. A memorial service for Hakki, who died in a motorcycle wreck, is set for June 2.
Zade Hakki was featured by the Herald in 2016 while working the overnight shift at the Dutch Bros. in Kennewick. A memorial service for Hakki, who died in a motorcycle wreck, is set for June 2. Tri-City Herald file

One day, when Zade Hakki was about 2, his mother heard him laughing.

She followed the sound to the kitchen, where the little boy had managed to climb on top of the fridge.

"He was just sitting up there, kicking his feet, waiting for me to find him," Betty Hakki recalled.

Even as a toddler, Zade had a spirit of fun — and an infectious laugh that made you want to laugh along with him.

His loved ones are remembering his joy — plus his dazzling smile and uncommonly good heart — now that he's gone.

The 22-year-old died last week when his motorcycle and a Dodge Ram truck collided at Center Parkway and Steptoe Street. The cause is still under investigation.

A memorial service is planned at 1 p.m. Saturday at Columbia Community Church, 150 Gage Blvd., Richland.

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Zade Hakki, center, with co-workers Jake Daniels, left, and Garrit Farrell, right, in 2016. Tri-City Herald file

Zade was as the assistant manager at the Dutch Bros. Coffee on Columbia Center Boulevard in Kennewick. He'd worked for Dutch Bros. for several years, making friends and winning admirers from behind the window.

In 2016, the Herald featured him as part of a series documenting 24 hours in the Tri-Cities.

While on an overnight shift, he talked about his love for building connections.

Once, he even saved a life.

A man pulled up to the window early one morning, maybe 2 a.m., and they got to talking.

Eventually, another car pulled up and the man started to drive off. But, first, he made a confession: he'd had a bad night and was planning to kill himself, until Zade's kindness changed his mind.

"I was shocked. I didn't know what to say. He pulled away and the next people pulled up ready to order," Zade recalled. "I just thought I was making a cup of coffee for a dude, just talking. It's crazy what that can do."

Zade had that effect on people.

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Zade Hakki with his father, Munther. Courtesy of Munther Hakki

He was kind and caring, from the time he was a little boy, said Munther Hakki, his dad.

"He always had God in his heart, and he always believed in helping people, no matter who you are. He always gave you the right things — the right advice, the right things," his father said. "He was a loving kid. That’s what I want people to know."

Zade was a central part of a big, blended family — a family that already suffered one devastating blow.

Zade's older brother, Abe, died in 2016 at age 25.

After that loss, Zade stepped up and made sure others in his family were OK.

"He was a pillar of strength," his mother said, recalling how he'd check in on her and his younger brother, Farris, 19.

Zade also has two younger siblings, Salma and Adam, who live with his father and stepmother, Sawsan, in California.

Betty Hakki's partner, Rob Kuch, also has two sons, Colin and Christian, with whom Zade was close.

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Zade Hakki, far right, with his brother Farris, left, mother, Betty, and brother, Abe, center. Courtesy of Betty Hakki

The 2014 Southridge High School graduate enjoyed his work with Dutch Bros., hinting he might want his own location one day.

And he was in love. He'd just bought a house with Taylor Janicek, his fiancé. It has a big backyard for their dogs.

At lunch with his mother the other day, Zade talked about how happy he was.

"He told me, 'Mom, I’m only 22 years old, but I have every single thing that I want,'" Betty recalled.

He and Taylor were closing on their house. He had his family. His many, many friends.

"He had joy every single day," Betty said. "You never know when you're going to lose someone. You have to love them every single day. Zade knew that. He loved Taylor to the fullest. He loved his family and friends to the fullest, every single day."

A fundraiser for Zade's family is at givehope.com/In-Loving-Memory-of-Zade.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, @saratcherald