Alaina and Keith Schwartz, the owners of Caliber Coffee Co., were surprised to discover that someone had graffitied a fence outside their Nashville business. But the real shock came after they posted about the incident on Facebook.
Discovering the graffiti on their property was disappointing, but instead of calling the police, Alaina and Keith decided to take a more positive route.
They shared what had happened online, explaining that they were inspired to give the fence an update with a mural. To do this, they needed a local artist, which was exactly what they asked for.
“Calling all artists!” they wrote. “We had a few neighbors make a solid attempt on the fence around our dumpster … but we are looking for something that will uplift, bring hope, and connect our community! Let us know if you are interested!”
As their post garnered attention online, they heard from the very people they had least expected to see again. Only a day after they discovered the vandalism, three teenagers came into the coffee shop and asked to speak with a manager in private.
Alaina said the boys looked “terrified,” but they found the courage to own up to graffitiing the fence and apologized. Touched, Keith insisted that they didn’t have to repaint it, but the teens elected to do so anyway. Shocked at their brave choice to return to the shop at all, Keith and Alaina instantly chose forgiveness.
“We’ve all been there, we’ve all done something we shouldn’t have,” Alaina recalled her husband telling the boys. “Thank you for coming in and apologizing.”
Wanting to share the powerful moment with the world, Alaina and Keith wrote an update on Facebook. Little did they know just how impactful their story would become!
“We’re just a little mom-and-pop coffee shop. … So it was really incredible to see that people responded well,” Alaina said. “For us to have that opportunity to extend grace and mercy that we’ve all needed at different points in our lives for different things is a really great opportunity for us as parents to show our own children, ‘Hey, you’re going to make mistakes, and it’s OK.'”
While the graffiti has been painted over, they are still looking for a local artist to create a mural for them. In the meantime, the amazing couple has found other opportunities to make the world a better place.
Caliber Coffee Co. is now partnering with Shower the People, a charitable organization in Nashville that renovates buses to include showers and laundry supplies for their local homeless population.
They will also be adding a fence to the back of the coffee shop, where they can “offer hygiene kits that will just hang on that fence for anybody to pick up and have what they need.”
How did this partnership begin? Someone at Shower the People saw their story!
“These are little connections that are going to make a huge difference,” Alaina said. “It has absolutely nothing to do with us as a business, but we really believe that we should be not only a business but constantly try to reach out and empower and uplift others.”
What a powerful demonstration of love and forgiveness! It just goes to show that one act of kindness can have a domino effect.
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