Paying it forward with 'extras'
Given the current climate in our country, most of us would agree that roughly 50-60 percent of what is posted on Facebook (maybe even more) is junk.
Useless political or societal memes containing language designed to divide people into “us” against “them,” Russian bots (you can tell when they occasionally slip up with a grammatical error that an eight-year-old could spot), or hate speech directed at one of our presidential candidates or his supporters, cops, or some other group of people.
Recently, though, I came across a post with an idea that I thought could/should really take hold right now. The post was from “The kindness kommunity."
“There was a little coffee shop, where two people arrived and approached the counter.
‘Five coffees, please. Two for us and three hanging.’ They paid, took their two coffees and left.
I asked the waiter, ‘What’s this about hanging coffees?’
‘Wait and you’ll see.’
Some more people came in. Two girls asked for a coffee each; they paid and left. The following order was for seven coffees and it was made by three women - three for them and four hanging coffees. I was left wondering -
‘What is the meaning of the hanging coffees they leave?’
Suddenly a man dressed in worn clothes, who looks like he might be homeless, arrives at the counter and asks sincerely, ‘Do you have a coffee hanging?’
‘Yes we do sir.”
They serve him a coffee...”
The idea is that people who can afford to, pay in advance for a coffee or a meal that will be served to whoever cannot afford one. In the post that I saw, the person said the idea had originated in Italy, but when I re-posted it, a friend commented that pizza places in Montgomery, Alabama have been doing this for years.
Given our current Covid-19 climate and how many people are struggling to make ends meet, I thought this would be a great idea for Guam coffee shops, pizza places, and even fast food places. Granted, it would take some coordination on the part of whoever is taking the orders to be able to keep track of how many “extra” orders are paid for in advance. (I like the word “extra” instead of “hanging” - it just seems like a more positive term for this act of kindness.)
If you are a coffee shop, restaurant owner or a manager of a fast food place, maybe you could just post a sign at the drive through or order counter (when we open up again - and we will, when everyone gets it and starts doing the social distancing and mask wearing that is required to stop the spread of the virus) that says something like “We do extras. If you can afford to, please pay for a meal for someone struggling right now.”
Granted, there are people who may take advantage of these acts of kindness, but for the most part, hopefully, the “extra” meals or drinks will go to people who need them.
What do you think, gachongs? Can we do this? Restaurants who want to participate - just put a sign in your drive through, order counter, or if you take phone orders, just tell people “We do extras” when they call. People who want to pay for an extra meal or drink can do so, and people who need a meal, coffee, or a drink who cannot afford one will then know if they can ask if you have any “extras” at that moment.
During this most trying time for so many people, extra acts of kindness such as this can go a long way toward making a person feel normal, and maybe even give them some hope that things will get better.
And they will. If we all pitch in and do a bit extra for others in our community, we will get through this.