UBC student spreading cheer with hidden coffee gift cards

Anonymous coffee crusader spills the beans

“AJazzy69” is obviously not his real name, but his mission to bring a little bit of happiness to students at UBC is as uplifting and genuine as a two-shot cappuccino.

Over the past year, AJazzy69 (“Jazzy”) has tucked coffee gift cards in hidden spots across campus — in library books, on tables, shelves, chairs, and benches — across the Vancouver campus, taking photos of the cards and posting them on the UBC Reddit page with hints of the locations and an invitation for students to find the cards and enjoy a free coffee on him.

“It started around the time that we were going back to classes in person in the fall of 2021,” Jazzy recalls. “On Reddit, there was lots of gloom and negativity and stress. I was stressed, too, and I thought ‘Is there any way I can help?’ I might as well try.”

So, on that otherwise unremarkable day, he got up from his table at Starbucks in the Fred Kaiser building and bought his first $5 gift card to give away.

Jazzy’s Reddit post read:

“Alright, since seasonal depression is in full effect and not to mention finals season depression on the horizon. I thought I’d just give a few gift cards to Starbucks/Tim’s throughout now to like sometime in December. Anytime and randomly I will be leaving them on various spots on campus and post a picture on this subreddit to give a hint. Just a kind gesture since many of us have been effected (sic) by this pandemic last two years and a lot are still adjusting the return. But anyways stay tuned.”

Since then, he’s lost count of the number of gift cards he has distributed (at least 100) and doesn’t keep track of the costs associated, noting just that the value of the cards ranges from $5 to $75. Jazzy says he’s fortunate his job allows him that financial flexibility.

It’s not about the monetary value or building a name for himself, he stresses.

“I’ve experienced depression and anxiety in my life, so I’m passionate about giving back and improving mental health, just spreading a little bit of positivity across campus,” Jazzy says.

He says he’s watched students find the cards “once or twice” and it’s a good feeling, but he doesn’t advertise himself. He hasn’t told many people about what he’s doing, not even his parents (although he’s sure they’d be enthusiastic).

“You just do it for the sake of doing it,” he says. “That’s why it’s anonymous. I was just raised like that. You give back. It gives me a sense of trying to do my part.”

Over time, Jazzy has refined the distribution model, concentrating his efforts around stressful times for students — before or during exam periods, for example. He once expanded the give-away to a brand new UBC sweatshirt.

Left and centre: Coffee gift cards waiting to be found. Right: A brand new red UBC sweatshirt. Photos by Jazzy.

These days, Jazzy is starting to think through what will happen to his project when he graduates. Will he cross the stage to accept his degree and throw out handfuls of gift cards? Possibly. Will he do one last hurrah with a “larger scale” prize? Maybe. Will he find someone else willing to take it on? Hopefully.

Meanwhile, Jazzy has some advice for students, who, like him, found themselves a bit overwhelmed and feeling isolated at the university when first arriving.

“Join clubs. Attend social events and intramurals. Take the first step. That’s the scariest. If you do, you’ll find the next one easier,” he says.

Oh, and check the UBC Reddit page. Maybe there’s a card out there for you, too.