An act of kindness in a coffee shop

So I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Albuquerque — a place called “Zendo” — and working on my laptop.

A woman walked in a few minutes ago, and she appeared to be homeless and disturbed. She was wearing a hospital gown with the back loosely tied and wore a pair of blue scrub pants on underneath. Her hair was in dreads.

“Can you give me food?” she asked loudly. “Can you give me water?”

Conversations stopped for a second and the shop briefly got quiet as people turned to look in the woman’s direction.

But it didn’t take long for people to react in a positive way.

The barista nodded, stopped what she was doing and poured the woman a cup of ice water. A customer walked over and put some change into the homeless woman’s hand. A second customer approached and, in a very comforting manner, asked what food the woman wanted.

“A sandwich,” the woman said loudly. She was confused.

“They don’t have sandwiches here,” the customer said gently. “Would you like a pastry?”

The woman said yes. It looked like the customer bought it for her, though I’m not sure.

After five minutes, the woman had a pastry and a cup of coffee with five yellow packets of sugar. She abruptly walked out the door, made a left turn and started wandering down the sidewalk into the Albuquerque sunshine.

The customer who bought the pastry swept up the crumbs left behind and threw them away. The barista cleaned some of the coffee spilled by the woman when she took a sip (she insisted on no lid) and tossed the ice water, which the woman didn’t end up taking.

Conversations and work had resumed. No one seemed to pay the incident any mind.

But I was a bit thrown off — in a good way. Did this woman know she could come into Zendo and there would be friendly people to help? Or was it just random?

Either way, it was nice to see people spring into action. When helping strangers is that normal, maybe this world isn’t as bad as it seems sometimes.

8 Replies to “An act of kindness in a coffee shop”

  1. Once I was $10 short in cash on a. Toy my daughter wanted. I asked the cashier to take it off the order but hold onto it, so I could run to an Atm across the parking lot and come back. (this was before I started using a debit card) Before I could walk out the store and over to the Atm the guy behind me had bought it for her and gave it to us. My daughter was 3 years old. Now at almost 6 she still pulls out her dollhouse and says “this was from the nice man at Target.” he wouldn’t let me pay him back for it, just told us to have a happy holiday. My daughter is in a wheelchair.

    Now we try once a month to do something kind for. Strangers, be it paying for the car behind us in a drive through or buying a homeless person a meal. Or even just taking some cat or. Dog toys to pass out to the animals at the shelter. I have taught her to be kind to everyone and everything she meets. There is far too much cruelty in the world.

    1. Makes a heart burst with joy when we hear stories like your’s and the the one that Jeff just witnessed. I love our wonderful country, the United States of (BLESSED) America. ????

  2. That’s awesome, man, thanks for sharing. I know you didn’t have any intention of mentioning NASCAR with this post, but I think that same spirit of helping folks and being generally selfless in the moment is something I’ve seen many times at the track among race fans too, and it made me proud to see it in action, whether it was a medical emergency or campers stranded because of weather, etc. Definitely reaffirming and encouraging to see it in action as you described. Cheers.

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