After starting a chain reaction in the drive-through lane in which one driver paid in advance for the car behind, and so on, customers at a Tim Horton Coffee Shop in Canada kept the acts of kindness going for three hours, a total of 228 orders.
The generosity, commonly called pay-it-forward, was likely initiated by a holiday policy instituted by the coffee chain in which customers at random had their cups of coffee paid for the week before Christmas.
"It isn't uncommon for Tim Horton's customers to pay for the next person in line, but this was a real gift," said Michelle Robichaud, a spokeswoman for the company in an interview with The Winnipeg Free Press
"It was a boost of goodness, especially with everything happening in the world . . . It's what Winnipeg needed," added Robichaud.
The generous act was apparently contagious.
When customers inside the Tim Horton restaurant heard what was going on outside, they also began paying in advance for other customers, according to Troy Thompson, general manager of the Beaverhill location.
"There was a lot of energy in the store. Our team was really excited and shouting out the number of pay-it-forwards all morning," said Thompson.
Canadians aren’t the only ones who have recently engaged in random acts of kindness through pay-it-forward chains.
In October, after seeing a fellow customer's credit card denied, a shopper in an Oregon Target store decided to quietly pay the $161 owed. The good Samaritan then left the store before anyone could thank her, according to Target employee Debora Durall.
In an interview with KATU.com, Durall recalled her exchange with the woman. "I'm like, 'It's a lot. It's 161 dollars and 85 cents.' And she says, 'That's OK, I've needed help before, and I want to help them.'"
The recipient of the goodwill was in tears, according to Durall, and gave $20 toward the next customer's bill as a way of showing her appreciation. Similarly, the pay-it-forward chain continued with each additional customer who came to that register, said Durall.
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