I did something yesterday that I’ve never done before.
I wanted to share my reasoning, thought processes and subsequent experience should anyone else relate to it.
Now I’ve been following the suspended coffee movement for a while, it’s a great concept but I hadn’t seen that many opportunities to act on it and if I am completely honest it just became that token goodwill story on my newsfeed that cynical old-me ignored most of the time.
Yesterday I saw a post about a recent cynic who converted to the movement after watching founder John Sweeney’s TedX talk – Why Kindness Matters. Procrastination led me to hit play and hear what John had to say. (see below)
Less than 2 hours later sat outside Kings Cross Station, someone asked me if I had any change. I replied with my default response, ’No sorry, I don’t have any.’ And only after he had walked away I wondered if I could execute the call-to-action John had been talking about.
What surprised me most when I was challenging my own behaviours was how nervous I got. It felt the same as when you’re about to get on stage or ask a question after a presentation. I realised, I was nervous about 2 things
- fear of rejection – that he would turn down my offer
- the shame of other Londoners overhearing that rejection
My rational brain kicked in and I decided to test my preconceptions. Once I thought he, who I now know as Bryan, seemed to be out of earshot from passersby I offered him a cup of coffee. Bryan smiled and said he’d love a cappuccino. We spent the next 5 minutes in a coffee kiosk deciding on which pastry to get whilst chatting about Finsbury Park and how Bryan came to be in Kings Cross that day.
I sometimes find chitchat a bit difficult, so I filled an awkward silence with ‘there seems to be a lot of love going into that coffee’, Bryan replied, ‘There’ll be a lot of love drinking that coffee too.’ Bryan decided to sit down with his very sugary cappuccino and laced chocolate pastry outside the cafe and I had to leave to find my friend*. He hugged me and said thank you.
Now I don’t think for one moment that I’ve made a lasting impact on Bryan. I find it easier (and less cringing) to see it as a test for myself. Fear of rejection was a barrier on my doing random acts of kindness. Bryan has showed me it’s not that scary at all.
Because, as a wise sage once told me, the thought is always worse than the deed.
*Thanks to the Giraffe Kiosk Barista that gave us one cappuccino on the house.
Sophia Cheng With a decade of communications experience across the for profit and nonprofit sectors, agency and in-house, Sophia has made a habit of making ‘the hard stuff’ more accessible. Since 2018, she has reorientated her life around the climate crisis. She has forged her decade of communications experience into offering workshops, mentoring, blogging, and more, on the biggest issues of our time. View all posts