The Starbucks drive-thru line is a place where you’d likely expect grumpy, caffeine-craving customers instead of a chain act of human kindness. But this week, one Starbucks in Florida defied expectations on Wednesday when one patron offered to buy a drink for the person waiting in line behind them.
When the next person pulled up, they offered to pay the same favor to the person behind them. And on it went for around 11 hours, the Chicago Tribune reports, for some 457 people who, after being the recipient of an act of kindness, chose to do the same for another person.
“It was just somebody wanting to do a nice thing,” a shift supervisor at the Starbucks told the Tribune. “We’ve had a wealth of people trying to come in and be generous.”
Even after the chain was broken by someone who declined to accept a free coffee, the goodwill continued. Media reports about the pay-it-forward chain prompted new customers to start up the act of kindness all over again. One patron bought a $40 gift card and shared it with the line stretching behind them.
From a purely economic standpoint, the action may not mean much. After all, if you’re in the drive-thru line, you’re already expecting to pay for a coffee, so passing the donation on isn’t a huge imposition. But as a gesture of generosity and kindness in a week filled with terrible news from across the globe? It’s pretty heartwarming. And all that, for the price of an extra latte from an anonymous customer.