REFLECTION: Acts of caffeinated kindness

Shelbie Goulding

Shelbie Goulding

Every morning before class, I need a good cup of joe to make it through my long, hectic day of classes. The other day, I got into town early enough to get a quality cup of coffee from a shop rather than a burnt-tasting cup from my coffee pot at home.

As I waited in line deciding what I wanted to drink, even though I know I’m getting a black coffee, an older gentlemen turned to me and told the barista that he’ll buy my coffee as well as his own. Taken by surprise, I told the man he didn’t need to do that, but he insisted it was a cup of coffee and there was nothing to it.

Now don’t assume he was being flirtatious or anything because I definitely wasn’t on my A-game that day. I was wearing black combat boots, ripped jeans that didn’t compliment my leg length, a baggy sweatshirt, frizzy hair and glasses without makeup. Definitely not a looker. For all I know, he could have thought I was homeless or my look screamed I needed help.

Regardless, he acted with genuine thought asking for nothing in return. It was the first time we met, and I doubt we’ll ever meet again. I thanked him, ordered a black coffee and that was that. I realized there’s no way for me to return the favor to him, but it got me thinking: I should pass on that act of kindness.

So later in the day when I got my second cup of coffee, I bought the next person in line a cup of coffee as well. She looked like a professor or a woman getting a coffee during her lunch break. She said the same to me as I said to the man earlier that morning. She said and it wasn’t necessary to buy her coffee, and I said there was nothing to it. She ordered a latte and that was most likely going to be our only encounter in life.

It felt good to pass on the act of kindness that was given to me that morning, and I hope the woman continues to pass it on with genuine thought as well.

It’s rare you see acts of kindness as simple as that in the world, but those rare moments really get you thinking. I’m a college student with a minimal amount of money in my pockets, yet it wasn’t hard to buy a cup of coffee for a stranger this one time. Little do I know, the woman I bought the coffee for could have used it that day the same way I did when the kind man bought mine.

All I’m trying to say is next time you’re in line at a coffee shop, drive-thru or fast food joint, think about the person next to you. Maybe they deserve a pick-me-up in life. If you think so, pay for the person behind you and pass on a bit of kindness.

Shelbie Goulding is a columnist. Contact her at [email protected].