Everyday Heroes: Coffee and conversation

Maurice 'Nick' Nichols offers a dose of history at Flying Cat Coffee.

Maurice Nichols and his daughter come to Flying Cat Coffee in Southeast Portland nearly every Tuesday morning.

Usually, they attract a few perfect strangers over to their table.

“If they talk to me I like it,” Nichols, who goes by Nick, said. “I don’t just go up and see a stranger – well, once and a while I do, don’t I?”

Nick explained that typically he wears his World War II hat to the shop. When folks learn he’s a veteran, he said, that gets people talking.

Flying Cat patrons like Annette Lowman seem to enjoy Nick’s war stories.

“He’s got a lot to say,” Lowman said.

“He doesn’t act like he’s anything special, although he really is,” another patron, also named Nick, told KATU.

Despite being 97 years old, Nick (Nichols) still smiles frequently during conversation, and isn’t shy about regaling folks at Flying Cat with his war stories.

“I lucked out and had a good time [during the war],” Nick said. “Never got hit by a bomb.”

Flying Cat’s owner, Jan Hinton, nominated Nick to be an Everyday Hero because of the brightness and cheer he brings to the shop, and his ability to bring folks together over conversation.

“Whenever I see him coming up the sidewalk, I automatically start smiling,” Hinton said. “[Nick] can tell you things that you’re not going to get in a history book.”

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