Write a Love Letter to your Latte Maker?

Dear Latte Lady,
Those hearts you make in my latte foam? I know it's a little thing, but getting lattes is an extra-special-only-sometimes treat for me, and those wispy hearts make it even nicer. I know you are on your feet all day, I know you go home reeking so much of coffee that you probably don't even like it anymore, and I know people get crabby with you and snap when you mess up an order. And I know that you are a kind soul, and most important, you are YOU, the only you there is, and that means something, even though I totally don't know your name.
The Girl in the Corner with the Laptop

This is my contribution to The World Needs More Love Letters, the endearing ongoing project of Hannah Brencher, who started writing love letters to strangers on her morning commute to work when she looked around the train she was riding one day and realized she wasn't the only one who could use a boost. Since then, she's written more than 400 love letters, leaving them scattered around for people to find, and she has invited many others to join her in various good-will-spreading projects across the world. Last November, the focus was on those wonderful people who make our lattes, sling our coffees, warn us about how hot the tea water is: baristas.

I've been a barista, and ever since a lady yelled, "You ruined my family's Christmas!" at me (the cafe had run out of her favorite cookies), I've made an effort to be nice to people working behind counters. Personally, I just like the idea that by such a small, simple act, I can brighten someone's day. Particularly, my latte lady, since she so often brightens mine.

Everyone is invited to leave love letters for their own baristas, or to send them to the More Love Letters PO Box, from whence they will be dispatched to various cafes. Visit the More Love Letters site to see the love-letter map, read testimonials by people who have found letters and find out how you can participate.

A Social Network for Good

Social networks. We love them for the ways they bring people together, introduce us to new things and provide convenient ways to force cute baby anecdotes onto the world. We don't love them for the ways they can suck us away from the real world and into the virtual one and for that glazed, slightly queasy feeling we get when we've spaced out in front of the screen for too long. Enter Kindify, a new social network that focuses not on posting ill-advised party pics but instead on doing good.

The idea is to set into motion chains of kindness: You do a good deed, you post it on the site, and you ask a friend to do a good deed in return. I admit I found this a little intimidating (my "good deeds tree" would look so...wintry!), but the site assures me that something as small as buying someone a coffee can count. I love the idea of being part of a community of kindness, of making an effort to do good every day. And I have the feeling that time spent on Kindify would leave me feeling uplifted and positive, without that petty "OMG! Everyone's having such amazing vacations but me" kind of hangover other social networks can sometimes cause. Every overladen shopper struggling to open a heavy door better watch out, because I'm coming to help...whether they like it or not!

Next: Random acts of chocolate


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