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February 17, 2013

Random acts of kindness

Locals share stories of paying it forward

PLATTSBURGH — On a cold winter day during the 2012 holiday season, a man stopped into the Koffee Kat in Plattsburgh for a cup of joe.

The shop’s owner, Patty Waldron, recalled thinking the man, who was not a regular customer, appeared to be down on his luck and in need of a place to keep warm.

He ordered a coffee, Waldron said, but when it came time to pay for it, the man indicated he was 50 cents short, so Koffee Kat barista Jason Ormsby reached into his tip jar and took out the money needed to cover the cost of the beverage.

Before leaving the shop, the man slipped $100 into Ormsby’s tip jar.

Not long after, the same man returned to the shop for another cup of coffee, this time tipping Ormsby $200.

“I was just, like, flabbergasted,” said the barista, who used some of the stranger’s unexpected gift to finish his Christmas shopping.

Waldron suspects that the man was conducting an experiment of sorts to see who would show kindness to someone seemingly in need; perhaps he rewarded Ormsby for not hesitating to chip in for a warm beverage for a stranger.

“He was trying to see who was naughty or nice,” Waldron said.

PAYING IT FORWARD

Joshua Morgan of Plattsburgh also likes to pay it forward by rewarding service-industry employees for their work.

“I always tip well,” Morgan said. “I know how hard it is for people in that line of work. They live off their tips.”

In fact, it seems area residents are no strangers to random acts of kindness, which, Waldron said, she witnesses more often than one may think.

For example, she said, during a recent storm, county employees were outside the Koffee Kat working in the cold snow, when a woman came into the shop and handed Waldron $25. She told Waldron to use the money to buy coffee for each of the workers.

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