Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The happiness of suspended coffee

Yesterday I had my first-ever suspended coffee. Elaine ordered a large tea, I ordered a small coffee, and the barista said that a previous customer had paid for a future customer’s small coffee. A suspended coffee! The barista too knew about the practice but she too had never before seen it in action. I took the free one and paid for the next one. As Elaine and I put caps on our cups, we saw a student ordering, yes, a small coffee. The barista told her that someone had just paid for one. The student turned, saw us, and thanked us. She thanked us at least four times. Laughter and smiles all around. It was the most fun I’ve ever had paying for a cup of coffee.

The tradition of caffè sospeso seems to have started as a way to help anyone in need. A customer without sufficient funds might come in and ask if there were any suspended coffees. In this east-central Illinois adaptation, it seems to be more a matter of kindness aimed in no particular direction. Pay it forward, random acts, and all that. I highly recommend paying for a suspended coffee and plan to do so again as soon as possible.

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January 28: And now I have.

comments: 2

Diane Schirf said...

One day when a friend and I got to the Chicago Skyway toll booth, the attendant waved him on and said the car in front of us (well ahead by then) had paid the toll for us — pretty sweet, as I think it's close to $5. I think we did the same somewhere else. In any case, it does make you feel good whether that's a significant sum to you or not. It's the thought indeed. We talked about it for a long time.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ve heard of people doing that. A student told me that at a supermarket checkout, someone once paid for the next customer’s groceries. (The next customer was her mom.)