Sunday, January 3, 2010

Free Coffee!

It happened to me on Saturday morning when I least expected it. (Not that I ever "expected" it!) I was the recipient of another person’s thoughtful act of kindness! It felt weird and wonderful and I liked it.

Recently, I had an early morning meeting at Elijah’s, my favorite local coffee shop. I walked up towards the counter and got in line behind a middle-aged woman who had just finished paying for her order. She turned to me with a big smile and as she wished me a "Happy New Year" she handed me a fully punched get-a-free-coffee drink punch card. While my brain registered, "Oh! I’m getting a free drink!" my facial expression and body language showed slightly confused disbelief. She again held the card out towards me and said, "All you owe is a smile." I took the card and smiled…and realized that I kept smiling! There was no effort required to genuinely smile after what had just happened.

As I ordered my coffee, I chatted a bit with this angel of free coffee. She told me that she always gives away her free drink card to whoever is behind her in line. And, she loves doing it. She gets a great feeling from surprising a stranger…not to mention the great feeling the stranger has. My day sure started off well based on the kindness I received! Guess the first thing I told my family about when I got home from the meeting?

What a win-win situation! Getting a hole punched on my coffee punch card is icing on the cake. I am still going into the shop to buy a cup of coffee, punch card or not. So there is really no personal cost to passing along a fully punched card. The only "cost" – the only out-put required – is the mind-frame of purposeful generosity. This is something all of us can, and should, afford! My kids need to see me practicing actions like this so they can learn the fine art of purposeful and creative generosity.

We can not predict the snowball affect of our actions. (Unfortunately, this applies to both positive and negative actions.) I was thrilled and wonderfully surprised by something as small as free coffee…it felt like a gift for "no reason." And who doesn’t like a gift?

Guess what I’m doing with my own punch card once it’s full? You may want to get in line behind me!


  1. Love it! I've been way more 'Little Blessings' focussed lately. It's amazing how a small act of kindness can carry us for days, isn't it??

  2. What an awesome "pay it forward" idea :)