378 Starbucks customers Pay it Forward A cup of Starbucks coffee sits on a table in a cafe in central Hong Kong (Reuters)
378 Starbucks customers Pay it Forward
Lexile

A woman started an act of kindness chain that lasted for hours and hundreds of customers at a Starbucks drive-thru in St. Petersburg, Florida.

She ordered an iced coffee around 7 in the morning Wednesday and asked to pay for the caramel macchiato for the stranger in the car behind her, who returned the favor.

The chain kept going as employees began keeping count and by 1:30, 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 and 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 so 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 in line before them while others said they didn't want to be the one to end it.

The Times said the chain finally ended around 6 o'clock in the evening 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.

Critical thinking challenge: Explain the concept of Pay it Forward

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COMMENTS (19)
  • hannahsmith
    8/26/2014 - 08:45 a.m.

    Over 300 Starbucks customers participated in the 'pay if forward' chain until about 6 in the evening. It started with one woman, who offered to pay for the drink of the stranger behind her, and kept going over and over with people returning the favor. It's always good to be kind to other people. However some customers may have not done it out of kindness, but just to be in the chain, and nobody (except the last woman, of course) didn't save any of their money, since they kept paying for the strangers behind them.

  • 5ValerieS
    9/06/2014 - 02:12 p.m.

    This is my opinion on the story above. I thought this story was very interesting because it had started at 7:00a.m and ended at 6:00p.m almost 12 hours. I also liked how they almost had 380 customers doing the pay it forward but the person didn't understand that you didn't have to pay for both. I do have a question they kept bringing up Nguyen so then did he work there all day I know its not important to the story but it just makes me wonder. I also kind of wonder if there was a cart there all day or if they paid and another car came and paid and left. Those are just some of my opinions.

  • madi2-Bor
    9/10/2014 - 10:56 a.m.

    The concept pay it forward is like give them a drink then let the people know and let them pay a drink just keep it going on. I cant believe it lasted for so many hours I thought some one in the 300 people would stop it but it keep going on and on! I don't know why the lady wouldn't go on with it I means that's kinda selfish the people payed for her drink she should have returned the favor but there are some people that just don't!

  • 3SaraS
    9/10/2014 - 05:30 p.m.

    Examining a story to find a lesson we can learn.

    I learned paying it forward benefits you more then anything else, it determines who we are. You could be a -giver, who helps others unconditionally, demanding nothing in return.
    -Matcher, who usually only helps those who have helped them.
    -Taker, those who demand help but never offer.
    I believe that paying it forward good things can return and come your way later on. I learned to not take things for granted and to be grateful for everything that happens to me, because I believe everything happens for a reason. So maybe its a good thing that women declined later on in the story.

  • robertd-Koc
    9/11/2014 - 06:46 p.m.

    It might seem pointless to others what everyone was doing but it was really an act of kindness. Kindness comes in so many different ways. Paying for someone else's coffee probably brought the person who it was purchased for a smile to their face.

  • emmalineh-Mil
    9/12/2014 - 01:07 p.m.

    I think the lady who started the chain for Starbucks must have felt very happy when she found out how long the chain was kept going. I dont go to Starbucks but I do know how much that chain has warmed peoples hearts. When people do this it proves that people aren't as rude some make them out to be. How many people do you think have benefited from this chain that was started in Florida? Most people who have read about this might have tried to start their own, but may not have had as much success. Either way you slice it, people have either felt kind, happy, or ecstatic to know that they helped contribute to that chain. I as a student and person who goes to fast food restaurants, I respect the people that care enough to make a difference.

  • 3HalleP
    9/14/2014 - 12:11 p.m.

    Lessons we can learn: After reading this story I learned one major lesson from it. I learned that kindness is contagious. First it just started with one person doing something nice by paying for the person's order behind her, but then it became a chain. One after another, each person did something nice because someone else did it to them. This shows how easily it is to make someones day by just doing something so simple.

  • basketballstar7
    9/15/2014 - 01:07 p.m.

    I think it's really cool that this lady just got the car behind her a coffee, and the chain kept going. I also thinks its cool that random strangers would just pay for it.

  • Asyushis-Lam
    9/30/2014 - 12:00 p.m.

    Wow! That's really awesome! This proves that a simple act of kindness can do a lot! I would love for this to happen at my local Starbucks! It's really nice how this became a chain all because one person decided to do something nice for the person behind them, not expecting anything in return! It would really make someones' day and you would feel good for doing something nice for another person! It really is great how one simple thing can make a big difference! :)

  • AV2000RED
    10/06/2014 - 08:45 a.m.

    I Think "Paying It Forward" Means That The Customer In Front Is Always Going To Pay For Your Order , Or That The Person Forward Always Pay I Honestly Don't Know .

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