I don’t drink coffee. I don’t know why I decided that one fall day to walk into a
Starbucks and purchase a caffeinated beverage I could barely pronounce. It was years ago. It’s difficult to remember what the weather was like, or how many people were
ahead of me in line, or what I was wearing that day. It was an average day, unlike any
other. But that cup of coffee gave me a whole new perspective on life.
Any other typical coffee drinking American is probably more than familiar with the Starbucks “The Way I See It” cups. You can’t miss them. On every tall, grande, and
venti cup that is sold, Starbucks features a sentence or two to “support good, healthy
discussion.” To me, it was just some coffee cup wisdom. Nothing more than a statement.
Perhaps the barista chose that cup for me. Maybe it was random. Maybe it was fate. Whichever the case may be, the words on the back of that cup challenged me and the coffee drinkers of America to support everyday random acts of kindness.
My coffee told me a story about a man at a Starbucks drive thru. For some unknown
reason, he decided to pay for the customer behind him. When the next customer learned
that his morning brew was taken care of by a stranger, he did the same for the customer
behind him. When the subsequent customer recognized the trend, he continued and so the
pattern went on for the remainder of that morning.
I sat there dumbfounded. Something so simple, so minuscule made an impact on half a city that day. Thus began my experiment. On my way out, I dropped a tip in the jar by the
register. The employees didn’t notice but it gave me an ineffable feeling knowing that I contributed to something. I then proceeded to hold the door open for three people behind me. Not all of them thanked me, one didn’t even acknowledge my existence but that didn’t bother me. I just discovered something that made me feel like a million bucks.
Sure, I’m not changing anyone’s life by helping a stranger put her coat on or allowing a fellow pedestrian use a part of my umbrella, but it changed my life. I now have that “Pay it Forward” mentality and I like it. Receiving a smile or a warm thanks from someone you’ll never see again may not sound gratifying, but I challenge you to commit a random act of kindness in someone’s life today, because it may soon turn into a personal philosophy of yours.