Topics Tuesday – Birthday Gift

BG InsideWelcome to topical Tuesday, where I attempt to counteract the overwhelmingly negative news feed that bombards the airwaves and social space.  Usually, this might shine a light on something positive happening in the News.  However, today I am going to tell you about a very local story that happened in our own world.  As most of you might be aware, we have a coffee business in the Dallas Fort Worth area which includes two coffee houses.  We have always wanted the community side of our locations to be at least as important as the coffee.

There are so many stories associated with the people at Buon Giorno, but occasionally something happens that warms the heart and makes the hassle of running a business worthwhile.  Last Thursday, a gentleman came into our Fort Worth location on his birthday.  Rather than focusing on what he was destined to receive on this special day, he determined to turn the tables and do some of his own giving.  He handed over his credit card to our barista on duty that evening and asked her to ensure everyone who came in would receive their order without paying and everything would be charged to his card.

This kind and generous person did not just stay for a few minutes, but was resident for over an hour and his eventual bill came to a sizable total just over $200.  Now, I know nothing of the financial status of our surprise donor, nor anything about any of the customers who benefited.  As I thought about this, I realized that, in a lot of ways, this was irrelevant.  What is remarkable and heart warming about what happened was simply that it happened.

This was not about supporting a worthy charity, providing for the poor or cancer research.  You could even argue that his money could have been better spent on something more worthwhile than a large round of cappuccini (plural form of Cappuccino).   However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the pure act of generosity exercised by one human being towards others was so uncommon and alien to our culture in a good way, that it was worth making more of it and writing about it in my blog.  I began to think about how each of those people who were on the receiving end might be feeling as a complete stranger took care of their order.  I wondered how their drink might have tasted and what kind of mood they might have entered and left with; I even speculated at the untold impact that might have occurred had someone arrived after a bad day at work where their experience of humankind had perhaps not been quite so positive.  I know the event had a very positive impact on our baristas working that night.

I wonder just how different would be our experience of the wider community if this kind of thing were happening more frequently.  Would it begin to lose its significance should it be more common?  Would we begin to take it for granted?  Would those eager entrepreneurs find some kind of app to automate the experience or ensure its social media impact had some kind of effect on the bottom line?  I don’t know the answer to these questions, as this random act of generosity was still remarkable enough to feature on this week’s Topical Tuesday.  I would like to think that it might just have a lasting impact on the culture.  I, for one, have spent some time thinking about how I might contribute and with a birthday coming up, I have my own opportunity to do something similar.  Not very original, you might say, but sometimes imitation of the things that change for the better might not be a bad thing.  So what do you want for my birthday?


  1. Berna says:

    What a refreshing story! You raised a few possibilities on how this man’s generosity may have affected folks, baristas and customers. Wouldn’t it be cool if we knew how Abba is orchestrating this in all these lives???? By the way, I’m okay if someone comes up with an app to do this. Imagine the wonderful energy in a place when peeps can use their smartphones to treat fellow customers just for the heck of it???? Cheers! 🙂

  2. Tim Cooper says:

    That would have been a heart-warming experience for those who received the cappuccini … and for your staff who were aware of the situation. What the donor did seems to have been a variation in the pay-it-forward activity. Let’s hope no one markets an app for the practice! The real rewards should remain with the donors, the recipients and those immediately involved; otherwise, the danger lies in doing such activities “to be seen by man”, thus diluting the experience for those involved.

    Enough from me for today. We are off fishing later … hoping to catch some nice snapper in Doubtless Bay! 🙂

    1. David says:

      Perhaps you might catch enough to give to your neighbors 😄

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