In an unpredictable world, it’s good to know there are people practicing random and anonymous acts of caring. We’ve all heard of the millions of dollars raised by comedians for the antipoverty organization Comic Relief USA — a good deed indeed. But sometimes it’s the little things that mean a lot.
The New York Times reports that in Naples, Italy, there’s been a resurgence of caffè sospeso, or suspended coffee. Café patrons buy one cup of their favorite coffee and pay for two, leaving the second for a stranger. According to The Times, “The suspended coffee is a Neapolitan tradition that boomed during World War II and has found a revival in recent years during hard economic times.”
The Huffington Post reports a similar trend at Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia stating that “Customers at Rosa’s, where a piece of pizza is $1, can choose to buy a slice for a hungry person for just another buck.” The small gesture added up to a whopping 8,300 slices in only nine months.
In Hamilton, Canada, customers can buy a button when they eat at 541 Barton — a popular restaurant run by church volunteers. Needier patrons can take a button from the jar and enjoy nutritious homemade meals for free.
It’s the gift that gives, as Talya Steinberg suggests in Psychology Today: “Numerous studies have shown that receiving, giving, or even witnessing acts of kindness increases immunity and the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood in the brain.” In short, it feels good to do good.