Just $1 for all that?!

“How much coffee can I get for 57 cents?”

My table was within eavesdropping distance of the cafe’s counter. The scene was Coffee Revolution in Vancouver, WA, where The Thinkery meetup community often gathers.

As I bustled around while my tea was steeping, readying my table for the group that was about to arrive, I overheard the lady at the counter. She had forgotten her wallet, and her pocket change wasn’t enough for a cup of coffee.

I hoped to rescue both the lady and the barista, who probably was desperately trying to remember what the employee handbook had to say about this.

I took a dollar bill out of my wallet and handed it to the lady. “Is this enough to get you what you want?” She thanked me profusely as she took the dollar, somewhat reluctantly. “I’ve been there,” I reassured her.

The three of us exchanged smiles and brief pleasantries. After the lady got her coffee and left, the barista came over to my table and handed me a rewards card with all the visits stamped, making it worth a free item. “The world needs more people like you,” she said.

“It helps me to remember that we’re all in this thing together!” I smiled.

Then I put a dollar in the tip jar. I was happily caught up in the cycle of giving and receiving that had been sparked. An ordinary moment became memorable as three unconnected people connected on a meaningful level.

All I did was give someone a dollar so she could get a cup of coffee. In return, I got a cafe item worth more than a dollar. Far more than that, of course, I got a few priceless moments of camaraderie, laughter, and warmth with a couple of fellow human beings.


It’s amazing how such a small gesture can bring about such a big reward. The Thinkery isn’t just about knowledge, critical thinking, and intellectual endeavors; it’s also about fostering thoughtfulness in the world. This is just a reminder how simple thoughtfulness is — and what a difference it makes.

3 thoughts on “Just $1 for all that?!

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