I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighbouring town of Venice, the city of lights and water. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat on an empty table beside us.
He called the waiter and placed his order saying, Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall. We heard this order with interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two. As soon as he left, the waiter pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”.
While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he pasted a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”.
It seemed that this gesture was a norm at this place. However, it was something unique and perplexing for us. Since we had nothing to do with the matter, we finished our coffee, paid the bill and left.
After a few days, we again had a chance to go to this coffee shop. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man entered. The way this man was dressed did not match the standard or the atmosphere of this coffee shop.
Poverty was evident from the looks on his face. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, one cup of coffee from the wall. The waiter served coffee to this man with the customary respect and dignity.
The man had his coffee and left without paying. We were amazed to watch all this including when the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the dustbin.
Now it was no surprise for us. The matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town welled up our eyes with tears.
Coffee is neither a need of our society nor a necessity of life for us. The point to note is that when we take pleasure in any blessing, maybe we also need to think about those people who appreciate that specific blessing as much as we do but they cannot afford to have it.
Note the character of this waiter, who is playing a consistent and generous role to get the communication going between the affording and the needy with a smile on his face.
Ponder upon this man in need. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem. He gets a free cup of coffee without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him. He only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.
When we analyse this story, along with the other characters, we need to remember the role played by the wall that reflects the generosity and care of the dwellers of this town.
The origins of this story are unknown, but it is one of those pieces that are widely circulated on e-mails and the Internet.