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How a coffee shop's random kindness touched my heart

“Your coffee is already paid for,” I was told as I stood at the counter with my debit card in my hand ready to settle my bill.

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A coffee with heart

I must have looked a bit baffled because the barista quickly went on to explain that the coffee shop, which I was visiting for the first time, ran a ‘pay it forward’ initiative.

This meant that customers could chose to purchase a drink for a person in the queue that day as a random act of kindness.

I just happened to be the next in line to order the same drink that had already been purchased so I was told it was my lucky day.

The barista went on to explain that the cafe also ran a scheme whereby customers could also purchase a coffee, tea or hot chocolate for someone in need of a bit of generosity.

This could range from a new mum needing a well-earned break to someone experiencing homelessness.

After hearing about both schemes, I made a snap-decision and decided to not just repay the act of kindness shown to me forward but to also ensure there was also a hot drink ready for someone in need.

My coffee ended up costing me twice as much as it might have done but I left feeling happy that I might have hopefully helped to make two people’s days a little bit brighter.

I really appreciated the act of kindness that was shown to me and wanted to make sure someone else experienced the same happy feeling as I did when the barista explained what had happened. It’s always nice to do something for others.

The barista told me that sometimes people would come in and order a week’s worth of drinks so they could benefit more than one person in need.

They enjoyed being able to put a smile on someone’s face and spread a little bit of joy.

I had heard about cafes offering people the chance to buy a ‘suspended coffee’ for another person but this was the first time I had ever visited somewhere offering this option.

I remember reading about it for the first time and thinking it was such a good idea.

It got me thinking a lot about random acts of kindness, how important they are in our lives and the difference they can make to other people.

But I didn’t know, until I did some research, that there was a whole day dedicated to it.

Random Acts of Kindness day is held every year on February 17 so if you want to get involved there is plenty of time to start planning.

It started in Denver, Colorado, by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation in 1995 and aims to encourage small moments of goodwill and compassion towards ourselves and others.

Some of the Foundation’s suggestions include cooking a meal for someone who is struggling; donating old towels and bedding to an animal rescue centre; and organising a community litter pick.

Other ideas include leaving a glowing review for a restaurant and shop that you would highly recommend and hand-writing and posting a letter to a friend rather than sending them a text.

Acts of kindness can make the world a happier place for everyone.

We all have a lot going on in our lives and often that can mean dealing with many competing stresses and responsibilities.

Being kind to others not only brighten’s someone else’s day but it can benefit our own wellbeing and mental health too.

Whether it’s giving up your seat on a bus to someone who might need it more or donating surplus pantry supplies to a food bank, spreading kindness can be a simple thing to do but makes a huge difference to someone who might be vulnerable or struggling.

With Christmas fast-approaching, I think it’s always an important time of year to be supporting others and I make it a habit to donate to a couple of charities that mean a lot to me.

Although I’ll never know who gifted me the coffee that day, I’m grateful to them for making me smile and for having the opportunity to pass their kindness on to another person.

The world can seem like a scary and confusing place at times, so helping others seems even more important.

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