Coffee remains my first love, my obsession, and my comfort whenever life is getting me down. Little does it know, though, that it does more than just keep my perpetually frozen fingers warm for a few moments and temporarily restore a normal body temperature when its smooth heat slides down my throat. It also gives me kindness that I don’t deserve: feeling like I’m home with each blessed sip and giving me something to always make me feel just a little bit more productive, content, rejuvenated, restored. And people say I’m addicted….
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ― Henry James
It might be an abstract concept: coffee being personified to produce kindness. But, there are also other initiatives that coffee is a part of which equate to kindness on the most human level. For example, the idea that a portion of proceeds from a cup can go to veterans or to funding education.
There are also random acts of kindness with coffee: paying for someone behind you in line, treating your friends on a Sunday afternoon, or trying to use up college dollars while also making someone’s day.
I was originally inspired by my best friend Amanda to practice these random acts of coffee. She told me the story of how, one day, she was in line at Starbucks and just decided to pay for the person who came in after her—because that had happened to her before and there can always be more kindness in the world. Additionally, I was also inspired by my friend Sarah, who takes the gift cards she gets from her job at Denim Coffee and gives them away to strangers.
So, when I wanted to add more kindness to my life, coffee seemed like the perfect way to do that!
Standing in Starbucks one morning, I ordered; swiped my I.D.; and then waited telling the clerk: “I’m paying for hers too.” Behind me in line was another student just like me, up early on a weekday, probably stressed about school work, a job, classes, projects, or any aspect of life like I was. It truly didn’t matter because I felt like she deserved to have someone show her a little kindness. I paid for her drink and she introduced herself as Kenzie: a junior mathematics major and campus ministry fellow.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato
Through this random act of coffee, I not only made someone’s day but I also made a new friend. Waiting for our drinks, we had a pleasant conversation. When we parted, I felt so much better than I had been of late. It showed me how a little kindness goes a long way; because, unfortunately, kindness can be hard to come by these days—especially when one examines the news, stereotypes, and biases that circulate daily.
Paying for Kenzie’s coffee wasn’t the only time I performed a random act of coffee. I also paid for my friend Dijana’s one morning, and then treated my friend Christine that same day. And two Sundays ago, I decided to treat my friends Maura and Lizzy to brunch. Granted, there are other ways to practice kindness in our everyday lives, but these random acts of coffee were my way of putting more kindness into the day—for myself and for others.
And, because I’ve been practicing little acts of kindness, I’ve seen kindness come back to me as well, whether it’s been a compliment on an outfit, a worker making an exception for me or helping me out a little, or simply noticing the willingness of people to be genuine and kind humans. Getting caught up in the negativity that surrounds us day-to-day, it makes us blind to the different acts of kindness continuously appearing in our paths.
I’d advise you not to take these acts of kindness for granted, because like Plato said, you never really know what someone else is going through. That’s why it’s so important to be kind, to ALWAYS be kind.