A Social Experiment Over Great Coffee

I enjoy coffee.  I have a favorite place that I frequent — the quality of the coffee, the employees and the customers.  It’s the same coffee shop that a tech company led by a guy in a hoodie put in their building, that’s how good it is folks.

One day I decided to do a social experiment.  I ordered my drink and at the cashier I said I’d like to anonymously pay for the next 5 coffees.  To overcome the initial dismay I repeated myself.  Left my credit card and waited for my coffee (they do a pour-over) and then sat in my usual seat in the loft above the shop.

The results:

  • $15 in tips – 3 of the people dropped their coffee money in the jar
  • 3 additional coffees purchased anonymously for others – people paid it forward
  • 2 food purchases after knowing they’d have extra cash
  • 1 distrustful “who?!”
  • A great time had by the cashier – “felt like I was giving gifts”
  • 8 expressions of gratitude
  • Faith in us

The media/press apparatus often portrays a divided nation laced with civil unrest.  Maybe in the halls of DC, but here on the ground, we’re doing just fine.  So to all those leaders out there — sometimes all it takes is a gesture of goodwill — or a great cup of coffee.