On a cold, stormy winter day, an old friend invited me out for a cup of coffee.
We met by his house, and as we walked down the street, we passed by a small café with a sign hanging on their door that read: “You’re welcome in, we have suspended coffee.”
“Suspended coffee?” I asked my friend. “What does that mean?”
“You’ve never heard of it?” my friend asked, and I shook my head. “Follow me,” he told me, and we joined the line of people standing in front of the cash register.
“What can I offer you today?” The cashier asked a couple of young lawyers who were looking at the menu.
“I think we’ll take three cups of coffee,” one of them said. “2 now, and 1 suspended.”
The cashier nodded, as if it were an ordinary order, took payment and placed two cups of hot coffee on the counter. The two thanked him, took the two cups and left without waiting for the third. The next in line was an older couple.
“Same order as always?” The cashier smiled at them. “Yes, thank you,” replied the woman. “But please add two suspended coffees, we haven’t purchased any of those in a while.”
A few minutes later the couple received their order, and our turn to order arrived.
“Good Morning!” Said the cashier. “How can I help you?”
“I think we’d like two cups of coffee,” my friend said. “We’ll drink them here.”
When our order was ready, we took our cups and sat down to drink them together.
“Will you tell me what this is about?” I asked my friend, but he just said: “wait and see.”
Our conversation flowed, and before we noticed it, nearly two hours passed. Our coffee cups were already empty, but we laughed at shared stories, reminisced about past memories, and didn’t look at the clock even once.
The café was almost empty of people when the door suddenly opened and a man in old shabby clothes and a tired look came in and stood quietly in front of the cash register. He thought for a moment and then asked quietly:
“Do you have a suspended coffee?”
The cashier smiled and nodded, poured the man a cup of hot coffee and placed it in front of him.
The man thanked him, took the glass and left.
No one else seemed to take notice of this moment, which appeared to be ordinary in this café, but I could not help but be moved by this little gesture.
“Anyone who wants can prepay for a cup of coffee for someone less fortunate without making them feel bad.” My friend told me when he saw my expression. “The cup of coffee waits for anyone interested in it, and who knows better than us what a warm cup of coffee can do for a cold a dreary day.”
When we got up to leave, I stopped for a moment and went back to the cash register.
“Can I offer you something else?” Asked the cashier.
“I just wanted to buy another cup of coffee.” I took my wallet out of my pocket and put a bill on the table. “suspended, if that’s okay.
Moral of the story: A small act of generosity on the part of one person can change another’s whole day, but often those who need it may feel uncomfortable or ashamed to ask for something that can help them. If we all look around, I’m sure we’d see at least one person that we can help. No matter how little we think we’re doing, the people who need it most will appreciate it!
This beautiful story is based on a real initiative by several cafes around the world who decided to help those who can’t buy a cup of coffee at the beginning or end of their day. There’s no doubt that this is a heart-warming gesture that we would like to see a lot more.