Recently, a photo with an inspirational story on suspended coffee has been making its round on my Facebook newsfeed with about 38k likes and 30k shares. Have you heard of this story? It goes like this:
We entered a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and gave our order. While we were approaching our table, two people came in and they went to the counter. "Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended."
They paid for their order, took the two and left. I asked my friend, "What are those 'suspended' coffees?"
"Wait for it and you will see."
More people entered. Two girls asked for one coffee each, paid and went off. The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers - three for them and four 'suspended'. While I was still wondering what the deal with those 'suspended' coffees was, I enjoyed the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards the square in front of the café.
Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looked like a beggar came in through the door and kindly asked,"Do you have a suspended coffee?"
It's simple - people pay in advance for a coffee meant for someone who cannot afford a warm beverage. The tradition with the suspended coffees started in Naples, 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.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have such cafés or even grocery stores in every town where the less fortunate will find hope and support?
If you own a business why don't you offer it to your clients... I am sure many of them will like it :)
[Source of text: Click here
Disclaimer: I've amended the original text to be in the past tense and also made minor edits.]
Initially when I shared the story, I was a little sceptical that Singapore would pick up this culture. Then on the second of April, somebody in Singapore set up a Facebook page "CHOPE FOOD for the NEEDY" which has since garnered 4.2k likes. (For my non-Singaporean friends, "chope" is a slang to mean reserve.)
This is such a meaningful act though I think it would be a little daunting for those interested to partake in this pay it forward movement when they try to explain to the hawkers what their intentions are. It is a lot easier for me to explain to them in English but many of our hawkers are Chinese-speaking. I'm already formulating Mandarin and dialect sentences in my mind and trying to find the vocabulary of certain terms.
Have you heard of suspended coffee? Does your hometown have this practice too? Would you partake in it?