I walk into the shop and see bustling activity and interaction. I approach the counter to order my coffee.
“Your coffee is free but please make sure that everyone’s cup around you is also full.”
“What?! How is that my responsibility? Why can’t they come and fill it themselves? Look, I don’t want to fill other peoples’ cups. How much for just one cup of coffee?”
“We don’t charge for coffee. If you’d prefer to not fill others’ cups then you may take an empty cup and have a seat.”
I sat down with my empty cup, a little frustrated, and skeptical of this business model. How was I going to get coffee? And, I had a ton of work to do. I opened up my laptop and started plugging away. It must’ve only been a few moments before an elderly gentleman came up to me and, without saying a word, filled my cup. He completely emptied his cup into mine. He walked away to find a seat on his own and began reading his paper.
Why would someone do that I thought? I was grateful and started getting some work done. After another half-hour, a young lady came by and refilled my cup! “Oh, you know what, there was an elderly gentleman who filled mine that could probably use some.” I looked around and noticed he was walking around again filling others’ cups. That’s what everyone was doing.
The young lady sat down and we exchanged some pleasantries while she rested. Someone else came to fill her cup. She grasped her cup with both hands, allowed the aroma to fill her nostrils and smiled. “I think the coffee tastes even better knowing that it came from the care of another.”
Then, I noticed a few gentleman sitting near a corner and bickering with each other. I approached the counter and said, “Excuse me, could you fill my cup, I see a group of gentlemen who could use a refill.”