As a student, coffee is part of my daily (sometimes hourly) routine. My friends are now able to figure out whether or not I have had my morning coffee based on how coherent my sentences are, and I’ve recently noticed that one of my most used phrases is “can we get a coffee first?”. In terms of a coffee addiction, I’m sure that I am on the more dramatic end of the spectrum, but it is a fair statement to say that there are many people who get a lot of joy out of their daily coffee. For most people, buying or drinking a coffee is the first thing that they do each morning, and for that reason buying someone a coffee could be a small and simple way that could make the difference between a great day and a not-so-great day.
I grew up in a relatively small town, and I distinctly remember one year when buying coffee for the person behind you in a drive-thru became a very popular thing to do in town. The first time that I ever experienced this was when I was working at my local McDonalds, and I had a customer come through the line and ask to pay for the person behind them. This really struck me because I was the one who got to tell the guest behind them in line that a kind stranger had paid for their coffee and muffin. When the guest reached the window and I let them know that their coffee had been paid for, they were in disbelief. Once the shock of such a selfless act had worn off, it was very clear to me that this person’s day was just completely turned around and no matter what happened throughout the rest of the day, they were going to face it with a little bit more optimism. Being able to see their reaction was quite honestly an inspiring moment for me and in that moment, I was determined to brighten someone’s day in the same way.
Since then, I have been on both the giving and receiving end of the ole’ drive-thru coffee donation and I can honestly tell you that I don’t know which one brightens my mood more. The interesting thing about buying someone a coffee in this way is that it has a very clear ripple effect. While working at the McDonalds drive-thru, when someone bought coffee of the person behind them, that person would in-turn buy the coffee of the car behind them, and this chain reaction would continue for about 3 or 4 cars in a row. I’m sure that even the people who were gifted a coffee and did not carry on this chain were still more likely to do a small good deed for someone else at some point throughout their day.
Of course, buying a stranger a coffee doesn’t have to happen in the drive-thru. Standing in line at a Tim Hortons (shamelessly fitting the Canadian stereotype over here), you could just as easily tell the cashier that you will also pay for the person behind you in line. This style of buying someone a coffee is different because it could give you the opportunity to chat with the person that you’re paying for. This person could become a new friend, or you could simply be giving hope to a stranger who may be having a bad day. Personally, I believe that every person has a story to tell and buying someone a coffee could be the beginning of hearing their story and learning something incredible that you never knew before.
If you’re more of a shy person, this doesn’t mean that you are not able to partake in this give. I’m sure that your friends and family would have no objection to being bought a coffee, especially if this means getting to spend more time with you. Asking someone to go for coffee – whether it’s a long-time friend or someone you’ve just met – is a very North American way of asking someone to spend time with you (of course this could be a common practice outside of North America, but I can’t confirm). So why not give someone the pleasure of both your company, and a free coffee? I am positive that you will not regret taking time out of your day to spend with loved ones, and they will sincerely appreciate the gesture of you footing the bill.
Do you have any stories about buying someone a coffee? Comment below!