A local cafe took the opportunity presented by a coffee company branding exercise this week to bring 100 random acts of kindness to Armidale residents.
Wednesday was National Random Acts of Kindness Day in Australia. The movement started in New Zealand and has since spread worldwide, with each country marking the occasion on a different day - for Australia, that day is February 17.
While the inspiration behind the movement is to bring more kindness and empathy into the world, it also presents a perfect marketing opportunity for the fair trade bean wholesaler Campos Coffee who funded the gifting of 70,000 coffees.
Era Espresso has been operating in Armidale for the last six years serving Campos Coffee, and owner Ali Nadmini says he often surprises his regular customers or those in need with a free coffee. Still, on Wednesday, this was done on a much larger scale, thanks to his bean supplier, who gave him 100 coffee vouchers to hand out.
"We empowered the staff to hand out the vouchers as it gets pretty busy for us behind the coffee machine," Mr Nadmini said.
"I've always tried to do that with some of my regulars by occasionally shouting them a coffee, but this time coming from my staff, I think customers were surprised.
Customers were given vouchers which they could use or hand on to someone else - 'paying the kindness forward'.
"The day is something we might take part in again, but it is part of our ethos anyway," Mr Nadmini said.
"We've got a couple of guys who regularly come in on a promissory because they're a bit down on their luck - we're not really worried if they come back and pay, but 8 out of 10 times they do."
Era Espresso will be part of the NSW government Dine and Discover program next month, Mr Nadmini said, although his business expanded during COVID-19.
"We went from one delivery driver to three because we reinvented ourselves," he said.
"I pulled most of my tables out and brought in a lot of convenience stuff like bread, milk and eggs.
"Through the brunt of COVID, we really ramped up deliveries and to take stuff to people who were isolating. We'd been delivering to hospital staff for a lot of years prior, and during the pandemic, we just started delivering everywhere.
"You name it, I've done it - contactless ordering, you can order online, you can order on an app, you can text orders, you can pay online, you can pay over the phone - and it is all going to stay as part of the way we operate."
Campos Coffee Founder, Will Young, is a big believer that kindness and a daily cup of positivity can help spark meaningful connections.
"Over the past 19 years, Campos has grown into one of the most loved coffee brands in Australia, serving over 10 million Aussies a year," he said.
"Our success comes down to the kind support our café partners receive from their local communities and the many meaningful connections they forge there.
"Randomly giving away 70,000 free coffees this Random Acts of Kindness Day is not only our Campos Café way of saying a big thank you, but it's also our ambition to continue fuelling this kindness and connection.
"Ultimately, our goal is to bring us all back together again after a year that's felt overwhelmingly disconnected."