Whether or not the world is an angrier, more violent place today than it has been in the past, the proliferation of bad news in a rather civilized world via social media and the Internet in general has people on edge. With shooting massacres, neo-Nazi rallies, government officials legalizing discrimination, the outrageous infighting in both political parties, etc., becoming cultural norms in the U.S., plus the surprising decision of England essentially demanding a divorce from its European Union allies and the seemingly endless violence in the Middle East, it’s really no wonder that niceties are taking a backseat to disdain and discord. With insecurity comes volatility and the apparent loss of our basic appreciation for one another. But there are a few reminders that a little kindness can go a long way — and it doesn’t take much to be kind. For instance, one Ventura man’s request for coffee.

On neighbor networking site Next Door, a man in “Old Town” Ventura published a post about the suspended coffee movement. 

“Kindness can come in many forms, including the purchase of a suspended coffee, which is the very idea that inspired this movement. A suspended coffee is the advance purchase of a cup of coffee for someone who needs it, no matter why. But it really is about so much more than coffee. It can provide physical comfort, conversation, a smile or even a laugh, and a sense of belonging. A suspended coffee can change lives, sometimes even save them.”

The neighbor then followed with a few questions:

“Has anyone heard of this? Are there any such places in Ventura offering this option? I couldn’t find any of these sites (www.coffeesharing.com, suspendedcoffees.com).  I sometimes would like to enjoy a cup of coffee out, but it is a luxury that I have had to eliminate … or consider getting a new coffeemaker for home. In the meantime, I guess I am just using up my supply of black tea bags. :-)”

While this man isn’t necessarily instigating this pay-it-forward-style movement, he is making a simple request and putting a reality check on what so many take for granted. And it isn’t just coffee we take for granted. 

In this week’s cover story, we celebrate the work of five area residents who have broken up their daily routines to include volunteer advocacy work for animals to vets, children to seniors, and the environment. These people and many like them are critical in filling the gaps that other people do not or just cannot fill. But it doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to be a little kinder in our everyday lives. Perhaps one way to start would be to put a local restaurant on the map for the suspended coffee movement. Two dollars and a quick trip to your local cafe to show another person you care isn’t much to ask for. We cannot lose sight of the well-being of our fellow man. If we do, we all suffer.