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Watch: This Guy Travels Cross-Country Serving Free Tea Out of a Bus

Bringing people together, one cup at a time

There’s something wonderfully comforting about a hot cup of tea — even when it’s being consumed in the back of a bus with a bunch of strangers. Just ask Guisepi Spadafora, who spends his life road-tripping across the country hosting free tea parties out of the back of a bus.

As he explains in this video from filmmaker Jackie Snow, the Tea Bus wasn’t born out of any particular passion for tea: Rather, it was born out of loneliness and a desire to make new friends. “I didn’t really have very much money and tea was this really easy and cheap way to get people together,” he explains. He estimates he’s served more than 25,000 cups to more than 15,000 people since the start of his endeavor.

Spadafora’s passion project is self-funded, and he conserves costs by harnessing solar power and collecting firewood to burn for energy and even producing some of his own food, like kombucha. For things he can’t provide for himself, he leans on the relationships he’s built over time through his tea party endeavors, noting that “I want to live in a culture that’s less selfish and more sharing.” (And to clarify, no, these tea parties have nothing to do with the political group calling themselves the Tea Party.)

Spadafora estimates that he lives on about one-fifth or one-sixth the amount of money a normal person does, but he measures his success by the sense of community that the Tea Bus fosters. “What I found is when I offered something completely free with no strings attached, it really gives people the opportunity to have more deep, meaningful interactions,” he says. “Rather than coming into the situation with ‘What can I get?’ it was more ‘What can I give or what can I share?’”

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