It all started when Rick Everett walked out of his home in Sydney and put up a sign on his kitchen window that read: “Free coffee to combat the virus.”
It was March, and the Australian acrobat had lost his job during the coronavirus pandemic. With more free time, he felt he could help out others in need. And he knew how to bake and cook after managing a chocolate and coffee shop and a pizza restaurant.
When he started, he said the window would be open whenever he was home. He stressed that it wasn’t a coffee shop business; he just wanted to do something nice and meet his neighbors for a friendly chat during a difficult time.
“Think of it as popping over to your mates for a coffee only it is a friend you have not met yet,” he wrote on a sign. “I am not selling anything. This is a gift and all it will cost you is a smile.”
Soon his neighbors began to stop by, bringing him everything from cakes and loaves of bread to a six-pack of beer. Strangers began to recognize him on the street and wave hello.
“It’s like I live in a small town again, and it’s really beautiful,” he said.
His menu includes cappuccino, chai latte and hot chocolate. Everett also offers baked goods to go along with the coffee.
“And what’s even more beautiful is people ring my coffee bell just to talk,” he said. “They don’t even want a coffee! They don’t want to take anything from me, but they’re most happy to have a conversation with me, which is really nice.”
Everett, an animal lover who adopted two birds and a cat, often asks people who visit his window about their pets to “get the ball rolling” in conversation. He tries to stay clear of negative subjects and remain positive.