“Be kind”, “Kindness counts”, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”.
All of these sayings have been ingrained in us from a young age and we continue to pass it down. My kids’ school has signs all over campus, reminding students to be kind, but what does it take to be kind? I think it’s pretty easy, kindness can range from a friendly smile, to being supportive of your loved ones, to donating your time to someone in need. I can make a long list of wonderful ways to be kind, but what about offering up a daily necessity- a cup of coffee.
I know I can’t live without my cup of joe. I need it -several times a day. It makes me a better person. I like to call it my “personality in a cup”.
Let’s quickly talk about one of the best cities in the world: Naples, Italy. If you know, you know. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s gritty; but there’s beauty in the grit. The city is full of flavor from the amazing people, the beautiful buildings, the delicious food, (oh, the food! That’s for another post) and of course, the coffee! But what’s even more charming is the thing they call Caffé Sospeso, the simple art of buying coffee for a stranger. Caffé Sospeso means ‘suspended coffee’. When you buy a coffee for yourself you can pay for an extra one as a reserve for someone who can’t afford it.
‘Originating in Naples, Caffé Sospeso started in blue collar cafes as an act of kindness.’
The minute I heard this I fell in love with this notion and set out to find the cafes who do this and found that there are many, from the most elegant restaurant/cafe to little holes in the wall. The first stop is the Gran Caffé Gambrinus. Located in the popular Piazza Plebliscito, the Gran Caffé opened its doors in 1860 and immediately became ‘the center of social, cultural and literary life of the city’
When you buy a café sospeso at Gran Caffé Gambrinus, the receipt goes in an old coffee urn and those in need of a coffee can pluck a receipt and get a coffee for free.
I first did this a few years ago, and on a recent trip I had to go back! I just felt good doing it.
It doesn't hurt that the coffee is amazing too!
After the Gran Caffé, I went out searching for more places and found that there are so many little cafe’s that do this all around the city. Some just have a board you can write your name on when you buy an extra coffee so others know there is one waiting for them inside.
Next time you’re in Naples, see how many places you can find, buy yourself a coffee and buy one for someone else and know you’ll have made someone’s day.
What a simple thing, why don’t we do this more often all around the world and with more things than coffee? Definitely something to ponder and put into effect! .
Maybe a “cannoli sospeso” initiative!