For 11 Hours, 378 People at Starbucks Repeated This Simple Act of Kindness

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Here's proof there is good in the world: On Wednesday at the drive-thru window of a St. Petersburg, Fla., Starbucks, almost 400 people bought coffee for the customer behind them - a chain reaction of "pay it forward."


For a continuous 11 hours, patrons baffled Starbucks barista Vu Nguyen as they pulled up to the drive-thru window, received their pre-paid coffee and then kept the momentum going — for 378 consecutive orders between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.


"It's nice just to do a random act of kindness for someone you don't know," participating customer Tim Burnside told theTampa Bay Times. Burnside went to the Starbucks in the morning and went back for a second time later in the day to participate again.


This is a growing trend. Back in June, the Burlington, N.C. Starbucks had nearly 200 patrons "pay it forward" at the drive-thru window. The magnanimous chain-reaction has happened at Starbucks in Detroit, Mich. and Newington, Conn. where a record-breaking 1,468 people paid for the customer behind them over the course of several days in 2013.


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz ran a promotion in October 2013 that kicked off the "pay it forward" trend. In a company memo, Schultz encouraged solidarity amongst fellow citizens by offering a free coffee to anyone who bought "another customer their favorite latte or frappuccino," reported CBS Miami.


But the "pay it forward" mentality is not just popping up at Starbucks. A local Boston donut shop, Heav'nly Donuts, saw the same benevolent deed when 55 people went through the drive-thru and paid for the next patron's food and/or drinks in July 2013.


The takeaway: Schultz may have started the campaign as an incentive-based promotion of kindness, but citizens across the U.S. are now intrinsically motivated to participate. In a time when the country is wrought with conflict, it is inspiring to see Americans do something for one another just out of the kindness of their own hearts. Additionally, it confirms the generosity of humanity: People are motivated to give at any moment, not just in times of need.

h/t Huffington Post

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Jenna Kagel

Jenna Kagel covers global and national social injustices. She also focuses on political dysfunction, the intersection of money and policy, and the US criminal justice system.

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