Anonymous donor foots strangers' tab at coffee shop to encourage kindness


ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Customers at coffee shop in Newfoundland got their caffeine fix with a dose of kindness after finding out an anonymous benefactor was footing the bill, a barista says.

Rachelle Brydon says an anonymous do-gooder set up a $250 tab at Jumping Bean in St. John’s Friday, paying for people’s food and drinks until the money ran out after about an hour.

Brydon explained that the donor’s only condition for accepting the free treats was that patrons pay the act of kindness forward.

“As a service worker, it’s a little awkward because you have to do a lot of explaining,” she says. “The goal is: Here’s something nice for you and hopefully you’ll doing something nice for someone else.”

Brydon says some customers were skeptical of the generous promotion, but most were grateful for their complimentary snack or cup of joe.

“I think people are used to some sort of transaction,” Brydon says. “In this instance, there’s nothing other than ‘just be nice’ and people aren’t sure what to make of it.”

She says the project is called Be Kind NL and the donor has organized similar deeds at a few other stores.

The Canadian Press sent an e-mail to Be Kind NL, but the anonymous altruist could not be immediately reached for comment.

Brydon says she hopes the project will restore a sense of community in St. John’s, some of which she thinks has dissipated as the city has expanded.

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