Act of kindness turns into free coffee for hundreds of customers

The Sideshow

One coffeehouse customer’s random act of kindness went viral—resulting in hours of free beverages for hundreds of fellow patrons who couldn’t resist the urge to pass along the generosity.

On the morning of Dec. 21, a customer at a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg Canada decided to pay for the order of the person behind them in line. The customer on the receiving end was so moved they, in turn, decided to pay for the customer behind them in line.The trend continued for three hours and exactly 228 customers.

"It isn't uncommon for Tim Hortons customers to pay for the next person in line, but this was a real gift," Michelle Robichaud, a spokeswoman for the company, told the Winnipeg Free Press. "It was a boost of goodness, especially with everything happening in the world. ... We don't know who started it, but that's the beauty of this act of generosity. It was the start of something wonderful."

The rest of us will likely have to wait until September for a shot at receiving a free espresso or other caffeinated beverage. On National Coffee Day (September 29), several chains, including Tim Hortons, McDonald’s and Starbucks, offer free or discounted cups of coffee.

Of course, we can’t help but wonder who finally broke the chain of free coffee goodness. Hopefully it didn’t trigger a downturn of emotional responses from the next person in line, who must have experienced some degree of letdown after learning they were the first person stuck with paying their own bill after literally hundreds of other customers had treated each other to a caffeinated gift.

Still, the Tim Hortons' manager says those who did receive the free coffee shared in a moment of generosity that was infectious in the best possible way.

"There was a lot of energy in the store," manager Tony Thompson told the paper. "Our team was really excited and shouting out the number of pay it forwards all morning."