I came across this post today, and it got me thinking about kindness:
“We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter –
‘Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended’
They pay for their order, take the two and leave. I ask my friend:
‘What are those ‘suspended’ coffees ?’
‘Wait for it and you will see’
Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers – three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks
‘Do you have a suspended coffee ?’
It’s simple – people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.”
Beneath the post where arguments back and forth as to whether giving a homeless person a coffee is creating dependency or whether it is a moral imperative. And further beneath that the amazing quote by Lady Di (Princess Diana) caught my attention:
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
So what prompts us to be kind to others, randomly, without thinking of our own gain? Or aren’t we, as those economist would like us to see it, always rational self-interested actors? Is every act, every step just done out of self-interest, whether its the feel good sensation we get from being “good citizens” or the weight of pity and guilt that is lifted off our shoulders when we buy a cup of coffee for a homeless person freezing on the street.
If it truly is possible to give simply out of the kindness of one’s heart, with no expectation of anything returned or gained, then this is something truly awe-inspiring and something to strive towards. The world we live in, although kind to many of us, is a sad and cruel world for many people. And even if you are one of the fortunate ones, you can still experience a terrible day, terrible news that could change your fortunes. So what’s a cup of coffee, a bus ticket, helping someone with their groceries, or any other small act of random kindness really going to cost you? Nothing in comparison to what the world could be with simple kindness around every corner.
Share any acts of kindness you have experienced or seen below, inspire someone to do the same…