Chick-Fil-A Pay-It-Forward Chain In Florida Lasts For 36 Cars

Very few things other than kittens warm the cold, hard hearts of Consumerist editors like in-store pay-it-forward chains. You know, where each customer in a drive-thru line offers to pay the bill of the person behind them in line. This miffs some people, but most take it in the spirit of community and awesomeness with which it’s intended. It’s happened yet again, at a Chick-Fil-A in Florida.

The Tampa Tribune reports that the evening was a community-minded one at that restaurant to begin with: a portion of the evening’s receipts were donated to a local church youth group. One family with two kids in the youth group was waiting to buy their food when the mother felt inspired. She would say that it was God, but you could also call it the spirit of generosity, or the spirit of delicious fried chicken.

“It occurred to me to bless the person behind me by paying for his order, too,” she told the Tribune. This began a chain that lasted for 36 cars. Sure, it’s not the record-breaking chains that we’ve seen at coffee joints like Starbucks or Tim Hortons. Paying for a stranger’s dinner order, even a fast-food dinner, is a more expensive proposition than paying for a few coffees or donuts. Apparently, no one balked at that: one person whose order came to less than $5 paid for a whole family’s dinner.

“It makes me really, really happy to know that so many people had smiles on their faces,” the woman who started the chain told the Tampa Tribune. In the end, the youth group made $150 from the fundraising event as well.

Temple Terrace woman’s random act of kindness infectious [Tampa Tribune]

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  1. chazcron says:

    So, how does that work? They swipe your credit card, and they use it for the next purchase? How about pay it backwards? Offer to have the next car pay YOUR bill. Yeah, that doesn’t work.

    Pay it forward chains are weird. In this case, of 36 vehicles, probably half paid more (likey not so thrilled, but buoyed by the participation ) , half paid less (probably thrilled, but not as satisfying as free) and only ONE got their meal paid for, and they probably incurred a smidge of guilt for not paying it forward, and possibly wonder if there was some ill will from the others that did?

    • C0Y0TY says:

      I think they swipe the card or take cash for the next purchase after that order’s been made, before you leave. Chains normally have two or more windows now, so by time you go from the order window to the payment window, the next order has been made before you pay. When the next person gets to the payment window, you’re already gone and they can’t refuse your charity. They CAN pay for the next person, though. The motive for paying the next person’s order could be that person let you cut in line, or appeared to be in distress, or you just think they’re hot.

  2. oomingmak says:

    I’d like to see the news interview the person who broke the chain …