Coffee and tea drinkers at The Well Coffeehouse in Fishers have a real-life guardian angel watching over them most mornings.
At The Well, Fishers resident Travis Lew Gibbs is known as the Morning Mayor – a man who visits with the regulars and new guests of The Well and offers advice and prayers. He can be found there most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays after his workout at the YMCA. He spends a short period of time at the coffee shop visiting tables and greeting the patrons by name.
Gibbs’ connection with The Well began when he visited the shop a few weeks after it opened and introduced himself to the barista. He returned two weeks later, and the barista remembered his name.
Now, the 75-year-old collects the names of all patrons he meets in a little notebook. On days he visits The Well, he dates the page and writes down the names of the baristas working the counter.
“The reason I write their name down is I pray for them,” Gibbs said. “Before I knew something about them, my prayer was that people can be really ugly if they haven’t had their first cup of joe, so I pray people be nice to them.”
In addition to the baristas, Gibbs looks after patrons, too, exchanging business cards and scribbling their names in his notebook. Now, 1 1/2-years after The Well opened, nearly 150 names are written in the notebook.
“For whatever impact that has, it has. If it doesn’t have an impact, well, then it doesn’t, but that’s OK,” Gibbs said. “I’ll walk in and love it when the tables are full, because I can ask to sit with someone. Once a week or so, I can do something positive in someone’s life. That’s why I come. I enjoy people. I love people.”
Out of all the people he’s met, two have a direct impact on the Fishers community – Fire Chief Steve Orusa and Police Chief Mitch Thompson.
Gibbs said he contacts them every month and lets them know he’s praying for them and their staff.
Thompson and Gibbs met at a Coffee with a Cop event. Thompson said he and Gibbs connected because they love the Fishers community.
“On that day, Lew asked for my phone number so that he could just reach out to let me know he was praying for the safety of the officers on the department,” Thompson stated in an email to Current. “I happily gave him my number and since that time I hear from Lew every couple of weeks just to touch base and let me know he was praying for our men and women. It is comforting to know we have the support of the community. Lew is well known to many of our officers who stop in to The Well, as he is not afraid to verbalize his support to the officers in uniform.”
In addition to his notebook of names, Gibbs is never seen without his Bible.
“The Bible sits there. I don’t flaunt it, but when conversation comes up, or when someone asks me why I’m carrying a Bible, I’m prepared to answer,” he said. “It’s all about introducing people to Jesus if they don’t know him, and if they do know him, then encouraging them.”
A servant’s heart
Gibbs’ passion for service spans decades. He served in the United States Coast Guard from 1960 to 1964, then served as the director of career services at Cedarville University in Ohio. Now, the 75-year-old assists others with building their resumes in his free time. He doesn’t believe in retirement. He refers to his time as “refocused.”
In addition to spending a few hours a week at The Well, Gibbs volunteers at a local food pantry and spends time connecting people from nonprofits with other organizations, most of which he meets at The Well.