When you think of Melbourne’s culinary traditions, two of the most popular are the daily coffee from your favourite local barista on your way to work, and a late Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast with coffee at your local café. Drinking coffee is so ingrained in the Melbourne culture, if a café doesn’t grind it’s own beans from the depths of some far-flung tropical rainforest, it will probably soon be out of business!
Now you have the opportunity to share your favourite coffee with a complete stranger, thanks to the inaugural Make A Stranger’s Day initiative, a pay-it-forward coffee movement. From July 1-8, 20 of Melbourne’s best cafés will give customers the chance to make someone’s day by paying for their coffee.
The brainchild of Peter Lynagh, Make A Stranger’s Day is about individual’s creating an environment based on community and charity at a local level through the simple act of buying a coffee for someone they don’t know and will probably never meet.
The light bulb moment came when Peter saw an elderly lady deciding whether she should buy a coffee or a muffin because she couldn’t afford both. He decided to buy her the muffin anonymously and had the waiter send it to her table. Her reaction was priceless, a mixture of overwhelming surprise and gratitude.
“It was such an easy, simple thing I could do that had a huge impact on her day,” says Peter.
“Not only that, you could also see it brought so much joy to the staff and other customers around us. Research shows that people who witness a random act of kindness get a rush of feel-good endorphins, the same as those who did the giving!
“That’s what Make A Stranger’s Day is all about, unexpected kindness with a pay-it-forward principle that brings everyone who sees it, and the wider community, closer together in a very immediate way.”
How Make A Stranger’s Day works
During the first week of July visit a participating café, and when you purchase your coffee, pay a flat rate of $5 to cover the cost of a stranger’s coffee. Staff at the café will then choose random stranger’s throughout the day to pay-it-forward to. When they go to pay for their own coffee, they will be given a friendly ‘with compliments’ surprise.
On the cup the stranger will see a Make A Stranger’s Day sticker and the name of the person who donated the coffee. The happy stranger who received the coffee can then choose to give a shout out to their new anonymous coffee buddy via Instagram to build on the feel good energy that is already growing strong,
It doesn’t matter if you’re a local, or live somewhere else around the world, you can still Make A Stranger’s Day. To put a smile on the face of one lucky person, simply buy a coffee at one of the participating cafés (see list below), or visit the Make A Stranger’s Day website, click the yellow ‘Donate A Coffee’ button at the top of the page and pay for a coffee at the café of your choice.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, $1 from every coffee sold will be donated to each individual café’s charity of choice. So not only will you be making a stranger’s day, you’ll also help raise much needed funds for people in need.
Now that’s what I call a real win-win!!!
Big plans for Make A Stranger’s Day
While year one will start local to the Melbourne area, Peter and his team have big plans for the years to come. He’s on a mission to provide a platform to promote social change makers, social enterprises, small charities and individual people having a positive impact on their communities.
Transforming the way we engage with charity and our community, making it part of our everyday lives on a global level, is at the heart of Make A Stranger’s Day,
WHAT: Make A Stranger’s Day
WHEN: July 1-8, 2016
- The Treehouse (Balaclava)
- Matcha Mylkbar (St Kilda)
- Il Fornaio (St Kilda)
- Patch (Richmond)
- Clement (South Melbourne Market)
- Tall Timber (Prahran)
- Friends of Mine (Richmond)
- Serotonin Eatery (Burnley)
- Drugstore Espresso (South Yarra)
- St. Ali (South Melbourne)
- Deadman Espresso (South Melbourne)
- Speak Easy (Chapel Street)
- The Little Sunflower Café (Elwood)
- Home Juice Bar (Docklands)