Sunday, October 23, 2005


Random Apps of Kindness

Last week, perched at a bar stool at Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, sitting with my friend David, enjoying our Sweet Potato Kibbeh with Homemade Sujuk, Tomato & Brown Butter, I overheard the bartender offering menu suggestions to the couple sitting to our right. As I eat at Oleana often, I offered my opinion; I told them they must try the Hummus Wrapped in Basturma instead of the carrot puree that he recommended. Stephen didn’t appreciate my help. To make amends, we bought the dish, a carrot puree with ground Middle Eastern spices and nuts for the couple. And so began Random Apps of Kindness…

The recipients of our random app were rather suspicious. They thought, for sure, that I was a food critic. As we tried to explain that we were just trying to be nice, they decided we were slightly crazy, as no one ever sends a Random App of Kindness.

After another glass of wine, we were ready to try again. We spied two young women at the other end of the bar, already enjoying their meal. We called Stephen over and asked him to send them some more carrot puree. No, he explained, they were more the dessert types. So we sent them the Baked Alaska with Coconut Ice Cream & Passion Fruit Caramel. They were appreciative, probably confused by the random kindness, but not openly suspicious.

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Who was Stephen?

-- Naunihal
Interesting experiment. Aside from the whole nosh-it-forward thing, it makes me wonder what would happen if everyone sitting in a restaurant could broadcast their opinions of what they were currently eating to the people who were waiting to be seated. The network effects would probably make life fully miserable for the people running the restaurant...
Stephen is the bartender. He works Sunday thru Wednesday. I prefer going to Oleana when he's there, though a friend of my prefers Walter (she thinks he's cuter), who works the other nights.
I remember that once we were at a restaurant and someone (who turned out to be the president of Morehouse College!) sent us over a bottle of wine, saying that we looked like we were having a good time. Of course, we’ve been contributing to Morehouse ever since!
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