Giving the Gift of Coffee: 228 Tim Hortons Customers Pay for Next Person in Line

For some coffee drinkers in Canada, it’s all about paying it forward – for three hours, as 228 customers paid for the next purchase in line.

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Brent Lewin / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts are shown in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on August 3, 2011.

For some coffee drinkers in Canada, it’s all about paying it forward – for three hours. At a Tim Hortons branch, the chain of kindness was 228 customers strong, as one customer after another paid for the next person’s purchase.

Just a few days before Christmas, one drive-through customer in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada decided to pay for the next customer in line at Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee chain. The next person caught on, evidently, and continued the trend. In the spirit of the gift-giving season, the acts of kindness continued for about three hours, as 228 orders were fulfilled all on someone else’s tab.

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It wasn’t limited to drive-through customers either; when in-store customers caught wind of what was happening, they soon too jumped into the delightful fray. According to Troy Thompson, who manages the restaurant, both staff and customers gleefully alike participated. “They were calling out the numbers, ‘We’re at 162,’ and they made a really big deal of it,” he told the CBC. “I think that’s what helped keep it going because nobody wanted to be the one who broke that streak.”

“We don’t know who started it, but that’s the beauty of this act of generosity,” a company spokeswoman told the Winnipeg Free Press. “It was the start of something wonderful.” But there’s always one who’s not feeling the spirit. The seemingly-endless chain came to an end when one man refused to pay for the next customer’s three coffees – though he had received four free coffees.

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