An old Italian tradition in which compassionate café customers engage in anonymous acts of charity and treat those less fortunate than themselves to a free coffee has been revived in Bulgaria.
Believed to have its origins in the cafés of the southern Italian city of Naples, the caring custom involves people paying not only for their own hot beverage, but also for one or more additional ones. Individuals who aren’t able to afford the drink can then ask if there is a “caffe sospeso” or “suspended coffee” available, and are able to enjoy one without having to pay for it. Some outlets use a pot of bottle caps or small cards to keep count of the number of coffees already paid for, which can then be claimed.
More than 150 cafés have reportedly joined the goodwill movement in Bulgaria. Some outlets which are taking part have posted pictures of payment slips issued for free coffees online. In addition to the cafés, several fast food outlets and grocery stores have also joined the Bulgarian initiative, proposing that their customers buy someone a loaf of bread or something to eat.
A ‘suspended coffee’ Facebook page has been devoted to the movement, with the page generating over 95,000 ‘likes’ by July 19, 2013. Thanks in part to social networks, the practice is now also taking root in countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
This wonderful practice is also being implemented to not only provide for people in need but in addition give more individuals the opportunity to taste delicious plant-based fare. For example, in Redcliffe, Australia, each time a patron of vegan Peace Pies purchases a ‘suspended pie,’ a bright star is placed on the counter, which is visible from the outside of the shop, so that those who otherwise could not afford may easily claim this delectable offering. Compassionate proprietor Tracey Chapman said, “We have a homeless gentleman who comes in every day for a pie.”
May we continue to expand love and kindness through benevolent hearts and gracious deeds.