After four days of rampant consumerism, we have Giving Tuesday to help us assuage our guilt.
But for Todd Edwards, proprietor of Olé Latte coffee cart in Downtown Portland, every day is like Giving Tuesday because of his "suspended coffees" program. Customers can pay for coffee, tea or baked goods, write it on the cart's chalkboard, and get 10 percent off their order. The cart will then donate that item to a customer in need.
But now Edwards is taking things a step further and handing out 300 "Olé Merit tokens" to customers who want to help him reward Portland's many do-gooders.
Edwards writes: "I will give individuals a token to present to someone you witness doing an exceptional deed/act of random kindness. The token is then redeemed for a free coffee drink at the cafe by the recipient."
Random acts of kindness, of course, can be anything, from helping someone new in town find their way, to turning in a wallet or cell phone.
The tokens, which he made himself out of wood, will keep getting recycled "to make Thanksgiving last year round," he says. And he encourages those token-givers who witness good deeds to record the story on the cart's Facebook page, so everyone can be inspired.
Edwards says the idea came from his military background and "remembering the challenge coins that represented merit and deserved excellence."