By Jeff LaBonte
Customers at the Heritage Coffee Shop received a pleasant surprise on Wednesday morning. Employees from the Central One Federal Credit Union on Southbridge St. were on hand to “pay it forward”, buying breakfast for anyone dining between 8am and 9am.
According to Central One employee, Kerrie Shulten, the Pay It forward campaign is being run in every town where Central One has a branch location. The Auburn branch at 63 Southbridge St. teamed up with Heritage Coffee Shop to bring the campaign to town.
Central One employees approached customers as they sat down in the restaurant to break the good news. Some customers were leery at first, thinking it was a sales pitch. But all were excited when they realized it was a no strings attached deal meant to spread some cheer.
“We wanted to promote random acts of kindness” said Auburn Branch Manager, Owen Russell. “Central One is a credit union, so we’re a little different from the larger banks. We have more of a community focus and want to be involved in the town and community.”
One large party who happened to be traveling through the area on their way home to New Hampshire couldn’t believe their luck. “We came across the coffee shop by accident” said one customer who did not give his name. “We were just saying what a great breakfast, then someone offers to pay for the whole thing!” The family said they would definitely find a way to pay it forward.
“Hopefully people will leave here and share a smile with someone” said Russell. “Or maybe say ‘hello’ to someone they don’t know.