Grinder Coffee

Strangers pay it forward at Toronto cafe after break in

It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But Grinder Coffee on Gerrard Street East hasn't exactly been reveling in the Christmas spirit.

That's because in the early hours of Saturday morning, the cafe was broken into. After a regular posted about the incident on the Facebook group I am a Leslievillian!, words of support started rolling in until last night, when a woman walked and offered to treat her neighbours to 100 free coffees.

“I nearly cried," says cafe owner Joelle Murray. "Especially after something like this happens, it’s an awful feeling." Along with paying for 100 coffees, the woman, who remains anonymous, also gave a large cash tip to the staff member who lost his shift because of the break in.

Since Grinder was about to close when this beverage benefactor walked in, it also gave out free coffee this morning and some customers continued to pay it forward.

"We were able to go almost even longer than the 100 cups of coffee," says Murray. While she's been frustrated dealing with insurance since the robbery, she's also trying to look on the bright side of this unfortunate scenario.

“We made the joke, we’re not going to let the bastards grind us down, pun intended," she says with a laugh.

And this random act of kindness certainly helped change the mood in her cafe. Each and every person who got a free coffee, she says, was genuinely surprised and many customers left tips for her employees. "No one took advantage of something that was easy to take advantage of."

Lead photo by

Dennis Marciniak


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