How a Free Cup of Coffee Saved A Life

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
For years, Glen Oliver had a peculiar routine at a Tim Horton's drive thru. In addition to paying for his own coffee, he would pay for the order of the person behind him and insist that the restaurant workers tell the customer to have a great day 'in case they're not already having one."

It was a simple gesture of kindness and Glen never waited to see the reactions of the customers behind him in the drive-thru.
He did not realize the impact of his kindness until his wife brought to his notice an article in the opinion column of the Durham Region news outlet.

kind man coffee drive thru

The anonymous writer spoke of how they were at the Tim Horton's drive-thru in Peckering, Ontario, planning to get a coffee and then head home, write a letter and end their life. It was when the writer went to pay the cash that the cashier informed him that his bill had been paid by the man in the SUV which just left and that he had given them a message to convey as well.

"Have a great day."

Looking back on the day, the man wrote the following.

"I wondered why someone would buy coffee for a stranger for no reason. Why me? Why today? If I was a religious sort I would take this as a sign. This random act of kindness was directed at me on this day for a purpose. I decided at that moment to change my plans for the day and do something nice for someone. I ended up helping a neighbor take groceries out of her car and into the house.” 

In the following months, the writer said that he made an effort to do one kind thing for someone else every day which 'has enriched my life in more ways than I could've imagined." He ended with the following words - "To the nice man in the SUV … thank you from the bottom of my heart, and know your kind gesture has truly saved a life. On July 18, 2017, I not only had a great day, I had the greatest day!”

man standing with a cup of coffee in front of tim hortons
Glen Oliver in front of the Tim Hortons drive-thru

As you can see in the video, when news reporters tracked Glen down, he could barely contain his tears knowing his simple action of buying someone a free coffee and wishing them a great day would save their life someday.

It’s the least I can do for some people you know? It’s like holding the door. It’s exponential now, you know? Like such a small, insignificant thing to most people just turned out to be … the planets align for somebody.”
- Oliver

Heroes of Kindness:

Since 2017, every year, I take up the #BlogchatterA2Z & #AtoZChallenge and focus on showcasing lovely real-life heroes from around the worldThe aim is to remind you that there is still plenty of good human beings all around you... to inspire you to smile once more.
You can follow my 2020 Edition of Heroes of Kindness here.

Want more stories of compassion? I have Hundreds of 'Heroes of Kindness' to brighten your day here:

2017 edition (Articles - 40, Heroes - 67)
2018 edition (Articles - 34, Heroes - 52)
2019 edition (Articles - 31, Heroes - 42)

Heroes of Kindness - Indian edition
Heroes of Kindness - My Interviews

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Good to know you are still active Roshan and spreading positivity :) I was just going around the blogs of all the old bloggers just to revive those golden years :)

  2. I hope this man has not sickened during the pandemic, and if he is OK, I would bet that he's doing even greater things now.

  3. We are so unaware of the pain around us. A little gesture, a small act of kindness can go a long way,even leading to saving life lives. Well done, Sir.

  4. It's so very true. A gesture of kindness costs us nothing, but it might make a great difference. Because, you know, I think we are not accustome to kindness anymore.

    I'm happy Oliver learned of the effect of his gesture. Maybe, he changed the life of many more people, and he never knew.

    The Old Shelter - Living the Twenties

  5. I always say that an act of kindness needn't be huge and it doesn't need you to have a thick bank account. You just need empathy in your heart.

  6. We are always focused on taking, however it is the simple act of giving that truly enriches the lives of others and us.

  7. OMG!! A coffee that changed someone's life and later so many lives!! How beautiful and wonderful!! If all of us have this attitude of kindness and compassion for everyone we meet, it would be a glorious world!

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