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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.”

More here. Il Messaggero reported the story, and the BBC passed it on.

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
The initiative at Teatro delle Muse is called “Theatre and Coffee… on hold for you”

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