We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order. While we’re approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter: ”Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended”.
They pay for their order, take the two and leave.
I ask my friend: ”What are those ‘suspended’ coffees ?”
“Wait for it and you will see” he answered.
Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers – three for them and four ‘suspended’. While I still wonder what’s the deal with those ‘suspended’ coffees I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café. Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks: “Do you have a suspended coffee ?”
It’s simple – people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who can not afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples “caffe sospeso”, but it has spread all over the world and in some places you can order not only a suspended coffee, but also a sandwich or a whole meal.”
I got the idea for this post from a Facebook post that went viral at the end of March. I tried hard to find the original source but I couldn’t. Perhaps I could say that it belongs to everyone now because it has been paid forward so many times. Which is my whole point. Pay it forward is asking the beneficiary of a good deed to repay it to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept of ‘Paying it Forward’ is old, but the phrase may have been coined by Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight, according to Wikipedia.”Paying it forward” has become a world-wide phenomena since the book by Catherine Ryan Hyde became a bestseller in 2000, and the movie came out in 2001. In 2012, people from 52 countries participated in Pay It Forward Day with individuals working on proclamations in 36 states & 41 cities. YouTube is filled with thousands of videos