Coffee, Toilets & Shoeboxes: The Gift of Imagination

My wife told me about Suspended Coffee today and showed me the video above. And it struck me yet again how innovative people can be. When someone suggests we twin our toilet so that someone else can go to the loo in a clean and safe environment, when somebody else grabs a shoebox and says, ‘Why not fill this with toys for a child in another country?’ they are doing something extraordinary – they are using their imaginations, and nourishing ours. Likewise when someone suggests we buy a coffee for ourselves and a suspended one to give away. These things fuel our imaginations as well as warming our hearts. We want to be part of it, it’s different, it’s innovative, an idea that grows and becomes contagious. And it shows that the gift of imagination can be used in all kinds of ways to change things a little. I’m so grateful for folks who do innovative things like this, things I could never do, to be honest. But by using their imagination they have created something that I can buy in to and be a part of, they have given me a chance.

When Danny Wallace posted an advert in a paper asking people to ‘Join me’ thousands did, so he had to then come up with something for them to join. The result was a kind of cult of compassion. Changing the world one random act of kindness at a time. And if that sounds worthy and overly-earnest – it certainly wasn’t.

The imaginative stories that flowed from it are diverse and surprising. Everything from buying something in a vending machine and then leaving it there for the next person, to waiting outside a hairdressers and complementing the first person who comes out. You can read them and be entertained and inspired in Danny’s book. Jesus used his imagination all the time, he was never overly-earnest, dry or worthy. He told the kind of stories and did the kind of things that would make people laugh and then live just a little differently. Who would have thought we would one day be filling shoeboxes and sending them half way round the world. It’s a strange and superb idea.

YouTube video

Random Acts of Kindness:365 Ways to Make the World a Nicer Place

Toilet Twinning

Shoeboxes for Children



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  1. Tim Wakeling says:

    Suspended coffee is indeed a great idea. 🙂 They do it in the “Share Shop” in Chester city centre too.

  2. Dave Hopwood says:

    Thanks Tim, I Googled round here but I don’t think it’s happening yet.

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