378 Starbucks customers Pay it Forward
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A woman started an act of kindness chain that lasted for hours and hundreds of customers at a Starbucks drive-thru.
She ordered an iced coffee around 7 a.m. Wednesday and asked to pay for the caramel macchiato for the stranger in the car behind her. He returned the favor.
The chain kept going as employees began keeping count. By 1:30 p.m., the chain had reached 260 customers.
Here's how it worked, according to Tampa Bay Times reporter Weston Phippen. Customers first ordered a drink at the speaker. When they came to the next window, employee Vu Nguyen told them their drinks had already been paid for by the person in front of them. Would they like to return the favor?
"It makes your day better, I think," said Lexie Kane, 17, of St. Petersburg, who ordered an iced coffee.
Tim Burnside, 19, had visited in the morning and paid it forward. He returned later to see whether it was still going on. Seeing that it was, he ordered a second chai tea.
"It's nice just to do a random act of kindness for someone you don't know," said Burnside, also of St. Petersburg.
Some said the simple act connected them to all of the others in line before them. Others said they didn't want to be the one to end it.
The Times said the chain finally ended around 6 p.m. when customer number 379 pulled up and ordered a regular coffee. Nguyen leaned out the window, explained the chain and asked if the woman would like to participate. She declined, saying she only wanted to pay for her coffee.
Nguyen said he doesn't believe she understood the concept of paying it forward.