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Over two billion cups of coffee are consumed every day, and it takes a lot of people to make just one cup.
One man went on a quest to figure out what it's like to thank each and every one of them.
A.J. Jacobs is a writer who lives in New York City.
Hi, I'm A.J.
And he's the first to admit he can be a bit of a grouch.
My default state is grumpiness.
I am very good at noticing all the things that go wrong.
So to make a change, he started giving thanks during dinner.
I would say, "Thank you to everyone who helped make my meal."
Until one night.
My 10-year old son was like "you know, Dad, those people can't hear you."
"If you really cared, you would go and thank these people in person."
And that's when the light bulb went off.
He decided to hone in on something he knew he took for granted every day.
My morning cup of coffee.
Over the next 12 months, A.J. set out to thank every single person who had even the smallest role in his morning cup of joe.
First, it was his local barista, the roaster, and the coffee shop sourcer.
Whenever I thanked one person, they would say "Well, I couldn't do my job without this person."
"So one person led to another, led to another, led to another."
He ventured outside the city, and eventually the country.
I thanked the folks who provide electricity to the coffee shop, the engineers who provide the water, the people who make the steel, the farmer, and the importer, the truck driver, the person who paved the road, and even the woman who painted the yellow lines in the road so that my coffee beans could safely arrive at my coffee shop.
I remember I called the woman who does pest control for the warehouse, and I said, "I know this sounds strange, but I want to thank you for keeping the insects out of my coffee."
And she said, "Well, that does sound strange, but, thank you. You know, I don't get a lot of appreciation in my job."
All in, A.J. ended up thanking over 1,000 different people, and while most were pleasantly surprised by his gratitude, it's A.J. who benefited the most.
The experience has made me grateful for the hundreds of things that go right every day as opposed to the three or four that go wrong.
I tell my friends that they should try these gratitude trails themselves.
They could just be small gestures, looking someone in the eye, the cashier at the drugstore.
It could be sending a quick note to the designer of a logo you love.
I will tell you that it will make your life better.
It's changed the way I live my life.
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Thanking a Thousand People for a Single Cup of Coffee

6445 Folder Collection
April Lu published on May 27, 2019
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