As with all heart-warming stories on the www, I first checked it out with ‘Snopes’, such is my cynicism and a sign of our times. My smile grew wider as I found it to be true.
A little investigation brought up more than a few snippets and I have quoted my favourite from a blog below and a link to the story itself:
Taken from ‘Blog.accidentaltourist.com’
‘’A well dressed gentleman of about 80 with a Borsalino hat and and elegant cane, walks to the cash register and asks to pay for “a coffee, and a suspended coffee”. Then drinks his coffee and leaves the bar. I tried to ignore my curiosity, but I only could for so long. Then I just had to ask the man at the register, what in the world is a “suspended coffee”.
So he patiently explained, trying to speak as close to a scholastic italian as he could (my question had given me away as an ignorant stranger):
“Right after the war, many gentlemen had lost everything they had, and couldn’t even afford coffee. Now, being that black hot liquid pleasure not considered a treat, but rather a basic human right in the life of any Neapolitan, those gentlemen who could still afford to have one, took a habit of paying for two: one they drank, the other was credited, to be had by the first less fortunate peer who would casually walk in the bar. The bartender would then say: “would you like a coffee, sir?”. Which meant: there is a coffee paid for you, if you can’t afford one.
The donor and the recipient would remain anonymous to each other, to protect generosity, pride, and the pleasure of coffee beyond hardships”
Credit to: Accidental Tourist
Taken from ‘Raw Story’
‘’Can’t afford coffee? No matter. In Bulgaria, an old Italian tradition that sees good souls buying hot drinks for those who struggle to make ends meet has taken hold after weeks of tensions over deepening poverty.
More than 150 cafes across Bulgaria have joined a goodwill initiative modelled on the Italian “caffe sospeso” tradition, which literally means “suspended coffee”, according to a Facebook page devoted to the movement.
The tradition — born in the cafes of Italy’s southern city of Naples — sees people pay in advance for one or several coffees without drinking them.’’
There is even a Facebook Group set up for those wishing to take part in this great initiative: Coffee Sospeso