Be the Cause

Story from Shwetha

(Shwetha has dedicated every Saturday to volunteer at the Seva Cafe. Her thoughts are below.)

If You Plant Them, Change Will Come….

“Wait! I have to give you your smile card!!” I squeal to my patrons as they get up to leave. “Smile card?” they reply. “Yeah, hold on I’ll be right back!” I return with the smile card and bill, explain the significance, they nod approvingly and crack a smile–and the circle is complete. I truly believe that there was no breakthrough until that very moment when they understood why they were there and why we were doing what we were doing. As a server for week 4, I was able to see the whole cycle with my patrons- from beginning to end, from confusion to commitment, from complacency to love. I observed and learned many things from week 4’s seva, but I never really reflected on and understood the value until now.

For example, to serve is one thing, but to serve with love is a completely different experience. The impact serving with love has on even one person is so huge, that it cannot even be measured because of all the unforeseen positive side effects that it comes with. I saw this come to fruition with Bryan—one of Royal Cup’s employees. At 15 years old, he is so impressionable, so influenced by his environment and the people who surround him. To see him at Seva Café as a guest with his whole family was amazing. It was his one day off, and he chose to spend it with us. He could have been with his buddies at the movies or playing video games, but he felt compelled to bring his family to the one place where he knew love was plentiful and smiles were free. If we have given him even one ounce of hope or one drop of comfort in his life, then we can truly say that we are on the right path. We have so much power to influence younger generations that sometimes we don’t even realize what a hug or a simple conversation can really mean to a kid. Hope is the seed that blooms into the flower of change–we plant our seeds of hope every Saturday evening, water them with love, beam our sunshine of smiles, and slowly but surely, watch change happen. Children are our future, and to affect their views on life now will determine what our world will be like when we are all gone….The potential is mind-boggling.

I also learned what BIG hearts people have in this world—I tell myself everyday that I’m lucky to be where I am, but I am supremely lucky to be surrounded with the seva volunteers. To the Bay Area crew: up at dawn, enduring the whole day on little sleep, yet still full of life and full of laughs until the end of the night, you have taught me what it means to be committed and selfless. To the rest of the Seva volunteers: you have redefined dedication and humility, and I consider you all my gurus for I gain something new every meeting we share. (Special thanks to Manuri for having a perpetual open heart). I look forward to Seva Café every week and could not think of any other place I’d rather be.

Until next weekend….




  • It makes so much sense…….. “to serve is one thing, but to serve with love is a completely different experience.”

    The love, kindness & thoughtfulness that we all share with each other and the guests will always be in my heart give to others that’ll cross my path.

    My little place feels so blessed to have so many kind hearts be there at the same time. I feel so fortunate.
    Thank you so much!

  • Sukh

    Shwetha. This is beautiful.

    They say that the greatest journey is one that leads to the heart. “From confusion to commitment, from complacency to love.” This whole experience is renewing our faith in humanity. Thank you to all the guests, to all the volunteers.

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