Cup 157


Today’s Cup 157 was transacted at Starbucks, zip code 97303. Though it seems difficult to consider that one cup of kindness, out of 157 transactions, could rank among my favorites, today’s cup does just that. As a busy school principal, now turned full-time doctoral student (for the summer), I made a morning trek to Starbucks, of course. Instead of swinging into the drive-thru, I headed into the store, with an iPad and some books, determined to study for the beginnings on an essay on critical pedagogy.

As I made my way to the counter, I saw a gentleman behind me and I politely asked if I could buy his coffee. His surprised, grateful, and excited reception only assured me that today’s visit (inside the shop) was no accident. He beamed: “You’ve given me goosebumps. I just can’t believe it. You know, I’m six years sober now. I get what it means to give back.”

Interestingly enough, there was quite a long wait for our coffees, despite being the only ones in the shop. They baristas explained it had something to do with brew times and such. But once again, no accident. We started sharing stories of times that we both enjoyed paying it forward. We talked of the joys of surprising others with kindness, and some of the time we both experienced kindness of others, too. It was as if our collective efforts toward kindness brought us together for this brief moment.

During this time, my new friend began to share the challenges of gaining sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous. He explained how he worked through many personal and financial hardships to wear the sobriety badge proudly, especially in light of having just turned seventy years old. I was inspired, to say the least. He was a wonderful reminder of those wonderful words of George Eliot (1819-1880), that “It is never too late to be who you might have been.” No truer words were ever relevant to those five coffee shop minutes, for sure.

So here’s to another round, and another day of Fully Caffeinated Generosity and Hope. Though our tab rang up eight bucks and change, it was our conversation that was priceless. So to you, Mr. Six Years and Counting, congratulations. May the road rise to meet you, and may the warm winds be at your back, and may God hold you in the palm of His hand.


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4 thoughts on “Cup 157

  1. hello. July 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm Reply

    I too have goosebumps. You both are an inspiration! 🙂

  2. TheDoGooderMama July 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm Reply

    I read this a couple days ago on Day 13 of my Do Good Summer Reading Challenge. This is such a lovely story about how a simple kindness grows and becomes so much more than just a cup of coffee. It seems as though you were meant to meet this gentleman, to inspire and be inspired, on your journey of kindness. I can’t wait to read more!

  3. […] she has purchased 157 cups of coffee for others and, though each one is special, she writes that Cup 157 may be her favorite.  This particular cup led to a conversation with a man who was truly grateful […]

  4. kristijojedlicki July 9, 2013 at 9:10 am Reply

    Some of my most valued and treasured conversations have been with strangers, and I am so glad that you were able to experience such a wonderful chat, too. Cheers!

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