The author of this article, Phil Mutz, is heartened by a story about a coffeehouse he finds on the internet, as it seems to epitomize the ages old notion of “paying it forward.” Mutz notes that this concept is very rewarding and he mentions the importance of the philosophy of “what goes around comes around.” The particular coffeehouse story to which Mutz refers is rumored to have its origins in Italy, although its exact origins have not been traced. Mutz goes on to share the story.
The story involves a woman who enters a coffee shop with a friend. The woman and her friend observe customers paying for their drinks as well as additional drinks that they ask be suspended. Among those are two unidentified customers who order five coffees, three of which they ask be suspended, as well as a group of three lawyers who ask for three coffees in addition to four more that they request be suspended.
The narrator does not understand why the patrons do this, which prompts her to ask her friend for clarification. Her friend tells her to wait and see. Ultimately, the woman sees a man in ragged clothing enter the shop and ask for a suspended coffee. The woman now understands that the suspended coffees are for those people who cannot afford warm beverages themselves.
The article closes with the assertion that the tradition started in Italy and spread around the world, where, in some places, one can suspend an entire meal.