Random Acts of Coffee

Last Thursday morning, I asked the hotel desk clerk if my BlackBerry GPS was right; if there really was a Starbucks coffee shop about four miles away.

Eyes “saucered” with enthusiasm, she replied, “There’s one closer than that!” and delivered the download on how to get there.

I made for my car, but turned just as the exit’s automatic door hissed to an open stop.

“Do you want one?” I asked.
“A Starbucks?” she asked in return.
“Yes, I can bring you one back...”
“Are you kidding?! Yes! That’s so cool!”

As I walked back to the desk, she made a quick scrawl of the latte instructions, slid them across the counter to me, and off I went...

On the way to retrieve our morning jump-starts, I am reminded of another “coffee incident” I experienced not too long ago.

I had pulled into a favorite Starbucks in my hometown, and when I opened my driver’s side door and stepped up into the morning sun, a homeless man shuffled up to me.

“If you can spare anything, it would sure help me out,” he explained.
“What do you take in your coffee?” I asked.
“W... well... large, light and sweet, please,” he stammered, a look of disbelief crossing his face.

“Great. If you’ll wait here, I’ll be right back with it.”

When I returned, he was right where I’d left him. I made to turn over the “light & sweet” to him, but as he took the cup, I held on. We stood there facing each other, each with a hand on the cup. I looked him in the eye and said, “Before I give you this coffee, I have a request to make of you.”

He looked at me suspiciously. “What’s that?” he asked.

“I want you to promise me that every morning, from here forward, you’ll begin by thinking that this day can be better than the one before it, and tomorrow will be even better.”

“I did that today!” he almost shouted—seemingly in a mixture of genuine surprise at the coincidence of it all, and relief that my request seemed reasonable.

“That’s the reason I showed up today and bought you the coffee,” I smiled.

I can’t describe the look on his face as he took in those words, but it was some mix of astonishment and gratitude.

I let go the cup.

When I returned to the hotel, the clerk reimbursed me for her latte and told me that I had made her day...

I’d like to think that’s true, but I know I made my day yet again with a spontaneous act of kindness.

I sometimes do forget that there are some very simple things that can make me feel very, very good. Spontaneous acts of kindness are among the most fun and feel-good things I know of.

Random acts of coffee. I guess one could do worse than be a bringer of java.

Don’t laugh! There are lots of ways to spread good cheer, and those of us who love our joe always appreciate a cup delivered by a friend. I’m for a “pay it forward” coffee-kindness rampage. Starting today I’m going to buy a fellow traveler a cup whenever the spirit moves me. And if anyone asks why I am doing it, I’ll tell them it’s because it’s one small way to make someone’s day—and mine, too—and that I hope they’ll try it for themselves...

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