Have you ever run into one of those pay-it-forward situations — when a stranger does you a small favor and then you choose if you want to do the same for another person? I was in line to buy coffee at a Jamaica Plain shop a couple years ago when the person in front paid for me. Then I paid for the person behind me. Fun. I blogged about the phenomenon here and here. It can be about helping someone who has few resources, but not necessarily.
Here’s a recent example of the practice. It involves theater tickets.
“A theatre in Rome has taken the tradition of ‘suspended coffees’ — where a person buys an extra drink for someone less well-off — and applied it to tickets.
“The initiative [ran] for just over two weeks at the Teatro delle Muse, where people buying tickets for a variety show [purchased] an extra seat at a reduced price to leave at the box office for someone else … The aim is to use a small charitable gesture to make the theatre accessible to everyone. The comedy show, called ‘You Are Not Neapolitans,’ [started] on 16 February. …
“The ‘caffe sospeso’ tradition originates in Naples, the idea being that when ordering your coffee you also anonymously gift another to a stranger in need. The idea has now spread internationally, and in some places has been adapted to include pizza or other food items. In a nod to the original Neapolitan custom, the theatre’s donated tickets [came] with a steaming cup of coffee … courtesy of a local bar.”
I’d love to know if you have encountered this kind of thing. Panera Cares, for example, was a noble experiment begun during the economic downturn in 2010 to help the hungry, but I read that the some of the locations ran into trouble.
Photo: Google Maps