If you’ve been out of the loop, a suspended coffee is the act of paying for an additional cup of coffee along with your daily order. This extra dollar or so is produced later as donation in the form of a cup of coffee for a stranger in need of a boost. It is the best kind of charity. Anonymous.
It began in working class Naples, Italy (some say during the first World War) as caffè sospeso. Since then this traditional act of kindness has spread through the EU and into the States. Skeptic that I am, I felt that it would be really easy to get cheated by the cafes, especially when paying cash, but it has been reportedly handled with impressive social responsibility and integrity.
A reliable sense that we will be treated as we treat others is something I am trying to believe in. I must admit however, that there are times when I am less than hopeful for our future. Every time a see another report about how I live in the Murder Capital of the US I hesitate when leaving the house knowing that there is a small chance that I am not safe. These small moments of charity give me hope. I want to run into Starbucks and yell “Sharing caffeine is ingenious!” at the barista. And truly it is.
Sometimes a small act that one doesn’t even remember afterward can be the huge difference between hope and despair or life and death for another person, because some say everything and everyone are connected somehow… A smile, a “good morning,” a free coffee: who knows what kind gesture will touch another soul and kindle a flame of inspiration and transformation?” (Ortuoste, Jenny, “Random Acts of Coffee.” Manila Standard Today.com Apr. 04, 2013.)
So tomorrow, when you grab your next cup to charge your neurons before work, think about how little it would affect you to leave an extra buck for a pending no-frills cup-o-joe, and talk to your community cafes about shedding some light on humanity’s good side by implementing this simple system. Check out this video then download the free sticker below and see what you can do to improve the mood of your neighborhood.
Because it’s not about how it makes you look, it’s about restoring hope in yourself and giving simple joy to others.