Donelson coffee shop’s story of ‘choosing forgiveness’ after vandalism goes viral

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DONELSON, Tenn. (WKRN) — Instead of feeling angry and calling police after a group of teens vandalized their business, the owners of Caliber Coffee Co. in Donelson are choosing forgiveness.

Hours after closing time on June 11, three teens spray painted a fence in their parking lot. The shop posted surveillance video of the incident on Facebook and jokingly wrote, “Calling all artists! We are looking for an inspired artist to create a mural at Caliber.” Any small business owner may have reacted very differently. But the very next day, they had unexpected visitors. The teens had came back to apologize and offer to paint over their mistake.

  • Caliber Coffee
  • Caliber Coffee
  • Caliber Coffee
  • Caliber Coffee
  • Caliber Coffee
  • Caliber Coffee

“It really spoke about how brave they are,” said Alaina Schwartz, co-owner of Caliber. “It’s terrifying to have to come into a place and say I’m sorry I made a mistake even the people who will love you unconditionally, it’s terrifying.”

“I’ve lived a fair amount of life and I told them first obviously you know what you did was wrong and they seemed terrified and apologetic,” said Keith Schwartz. “It takes a lot of guts to do and look, I’ve been their age have done all sorts of shenanigans so thank you for coming out as a grown person and owning up to what you did.”

The couple says the teens also vandalized neighboring businesses including Donelson Liquors and Wines and a SunTrust Bank, but have since fixed what they did.

They shared their story of forgiveness on Facebook and have received a lot of positive feedback from the community.

“I just hope it stirs in their hearts when they see another incident or see something else happen that they think of that person as someone that’s loved or could be their child or relative,” Alaina said. “The more we can extend that, stir that in someone else’s heart even as a little coffee shop, if it makes an impact for another person, that’s the goal.”

“We get to choose what kind of world we live in and the actions we take,” said Keith.

Several artists did respond and offered to paint a mural with a positive message for the shop. The owners say they hope to make it a reality soon.

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