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Hundreds of customers pay it forward at Fla. Starbucks

Hundreds Of Customers Pay It Forward At Fla. Starbucks

People in St. Petersburg, Florida, were clearly in a kind mood all day Wednesday.

378 customers at a Starbucks drive-thru paid for the drink ordered by the person behind them in line -- and a few of the customers even came back later in the afternoon to see if the chain was still going.

Tampa Bay Times spoke with Tim Burnside, who came back in to order another drink. He told the publication, "It's nice just to do a random act of kindness for someone you don't know."

The chain went on nearly all day, beginning at 7 a.m. and ending around 6 p.m. when the 379th customer in line declined to keep the chain going. The baristas had apparently started to try to figure out a plan for what to do if the line kept going until 10 when the store closed. That last lady really killed it for 'em.

We've heard this story before. From Detroit, where about 50 customers paid for one another's orders, to Seattle, where almost 500 customers joined in the fun, people have paid it forward at several of Starbucks' many coffee joints around the country.

We've found an even longer chain in the U.S., though.

Over five days last December, 1,468 people paid for one another's drinks at a Starbucks in Newington, Connecticut.

"I just think it's cool that total strangers are willing to say, 'Hey, I'm gonna pay for the car behind me,'" one customer said.

In China, one pay-it-forward chain at Starbucks went on for more than 19,000 -- yes 19 with a thousand -- people.

Why Starbucks?

Well, first of all, it has over 20,500 stores across the world, so the chances of having a store in your city is pretty good.

Second, people worldwide drink about 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day, according to PBS -- and The Richest says that Starbucks serves 40 million of those coffee-loving people each week.

The coffee giant had even gotten behind the movement and created a pay-it-forward campaign, offering to give customers a free coffee if they paid for the person behind them. The campaign went through October 2013, and perhaps it got people feeling generous.

We'll drink to that.

This video contains an image from Getty Images.

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baldbiker2 August 21 2014 at 4:34 PM

Great way to get free publicity and have the customers pay for it. But, not so nice at Starbucks? Not only where they open Thanksgiving Day....they were also open Christmas Day "tearing" young kids and older employees from their families on holidays. Smart marketing, their ad agency scored a big one with that campaign.

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9 replies
Shannon August 21 2014 at 6:18 PM

Would be nicer if the money people were giving to pay for a coffee was actually donated to a worthy cause.

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3 replies
debrajr46 August 21 2014 at 7:50 PM

Last week I went through the drive thru at Starbucks in Newport News VA. When I got to the window the clerk told me the lady in front of me had paid for my coffee. I then paid for the car behind me. I thought it was a very kind gesture. Like the random kindness.

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1 reply
tmiles1048 debrajr46 August 21 2014 at 8:58 PM

How do you know how much the drink whoever is behind you will cost? How much do you give the barista to pay for the car behind you? Puzzled about this paying it forward gesture when it is like this.

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2 replies
MICHELLE tmiles1048 August 22 2014 at 12:19 AM

The cashier knows what the person behind you ordered and how much it costs. You tell the cashier you want to pay for their order, the cashier tells you how much it is, you pay for it and go on your way.

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yamel86 tmiles1048 August 22 2014 at 10:31 AM

If you don't already know the price of a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you ask.

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wrightotcm August 21 2014 at 5:52 PM

“If you're in trouble, or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones.” Steinbeck

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1 reply
paulhomsy wrightotcm August 22 2014 at 1:54 AM

I love great authors who make such good quotes, thank you ! Steinbeck is right, at least the vast majority of the time regarding this quote. There are also many good people who aren't poor.

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tavmor August 21 2014 at 8:55 PM

Don't support Starbucks. They are involved in the mindless Boycott & Divestment (BDS) of our ally Israel. Plus their coffee's just fair and the high price they charge is for their bullshit, politically correct, phony. LIBERAL environment..

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4 replies
Dave August 21 2014 at 6:58 PM

Actually, when you think about it, only one customer 'paid it forward' and one customer; the last, was the only recipient.

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6 replies
s August 21 2014 at 6:02 PM

Im not that crazy about Starbucks
and this seems kind of a hollow gesture.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
Todd Je August 21 2014 at 7:56 PM

Dumbest thing...Really? You can't donate your money instead to a charitable cause but instead frequent an overpriced vendor which sells unhealthy and overpriced products? Dumb is as Dumb does..

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1 reply
katyclaire Todd Je August 21 2014 at 11:14 PM

I don't tell you what to do with your money. I earned it, I'll decide how to spend it. Mind your own business Mr. Judgemental.

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Deborah August 21 2014 at 7:51 PM

I doubt Starbucks customers need charity better to put the $4 in a church foodbank or something people in need can use. I can do without the terrible pricey garbage liberals drink

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3 replies
darkcloudstonite August 21 2014 at 10:47 PM

So how exactly does this work? How do you pay for the chump behind you if you don't know what he is ordering ? Or what if the guy is making a $20 order and yours was only $5 ? Sounds annoying on top of everything else

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1 reply
MICHELLE darkcloudstonite August 22 2014 at 12:25 AM

You really don't understand the concept of giving, do you? When you buy a present for a family member do you compare receipts with them and the giver of the cheaper gift makes up the difference so you are even?

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