Coffee Inspires Acts of Kindness

Author: Darren   Date Posted:17 August 2011 

Can coffee change the world?

About a month ago, Jonathan Stark, an American programmer, put $30 on his digital Starbucks card and uploaded the photo to his blog. The idea of these cards is that you can pay for the coffee simply by showing the digital image of it on your iPhone/smartphone.  Here's what it looked like:



This meant that anyone on Jonathan’s blog could download the photo, and buy themselves a coffee thanks to his generosity. To Jonathan’s surprise, people started to upload more money onto the card. Within a month, ‘Jonathan’s Card’ became a national phenomenon covered by the media – people all over America were uploading money onto the card so that others could have free coffees.

Everyone involved were both surprised and inspired by the generosity of strangers. Stories like this one can be found posted all over the ‘Jonathan’s Card’ facebook page:

"Just went to a Starbucks drive thru and the lady at the window informed me that the person in front of me payed for my drink because the person in front of them payed for her. So I payed for the person behind me. Humans are capable of simple acts of kindness. Pay it forward :)"

Sadly, on August 12, Starbucks were forced to shut the experiment down since it violated their company policy.

Jonathan wrote on his website:

So, tonight we lose our barcode. But of course, we never needed it in the first place.
We will continue to maintain the facebook page as a place for all of us to share our moments of kindness.
Keep paying it forward everyone!

While Australia seems to have missed out on the ‘Jonathan’s Card’ frenzy (but thank God we have better coffee than Starbucks anyway), perhaps we can learn a lesson from all of this:

Simple acts of generosity are appreciated, and coffee is a great place to start. Maybe next time you’re at a café, pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line. If you can, give your friends and family a surprise gift of Lavazza pods (since our coffee machines are free anyway!).

Most importantly - never underestimate the power of coffee to bring people together. 


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