A woman's act of kindness at McDonald's leads to 167 customers who pay it forward

I am going to do this on my next drive through visit (which isn’t a regular thing btw)

Rather than pay it forward at McDonald’s, let’s pay it forward by establishing universal healthcare.


I would pay people NOT to eat the alleged food at McD’s in the first place


You tell us. If I got your point wrong, then I’m open to corrections.

But it seems that you’re certainly echoing Zizek’s point, which is that charity itself shores up the capitialist system as much as for-profit, individualistic spending. [quote=“Thunderhammer, post:14, topic:103394”]
I’m just saying that if you have $20 to give charitably, and you want to improve the most lives the most, then you should spend it where it will improve the most lives the most. If your goal is to feel good about yourself, then you should give the money appropriately for that, which is probably in your local community.

the problem is that both scenarios and changes to improve the world are far more complicated than you’re implying here. And that there isn’t some firm line between doing little things to make other’s day a bit brighter and giving to worthy charities that operate abroad. It’s not an either/or thing.


Couldn’t you just ask to be skipped?


Begun the Kindness War has.


I assumed that for paying forward to be meaningful (for you and the recipient), you would keep it in mind for a time when you were actually needed. Or if someone does you a good turn, you do two good turns. Either target the kindness, or spread it around.

Not just automatically shufflling down the line, what good does that even do?


wow, that 167th customer sure is an A hole.

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:thinking: Hmm…would it work to say “Oh, that’s sweet! Well, here’s my dollar, you can put it toward the next guy’s order, then” ?

Or maybe “Oh, well, here’s my dollar, you can keep it as a tip” ?

(Not a drive-thru user personally, I may not understand the particulars of how it works…)


• “Paying it forward” at McDonalds is like some sort of demonic, monkey-paw like curse.

• These people are in Indiana. They probably all voted for Trump. Their altruism allows them to simultaneously buy the Happy Meals for the family in the car behind them and vociferously petition their congressman to deny medical coverage for the family in the car behind them.

• Also, how did this become a “story”, that needed to be reported. /r/hailcorporate.



Although I’m far from being the religious type I think there’s truth in this bible verse:

Matthew 6:1-2

Giving to the Needy
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.


The white hot cynical views here felt like a punch in the gut.


A few years ago, I was in the drive-thru at McDonald’s, and when I drove to the window to pay, I was told the woman in front of me paid for mine. I had no idea this was a thing that I was supposed to keep going, so I didn’t. I said wow, looked for the woman to wave thanks, saw that she had already driven off, and just quietly thanked her and resolved to pay it forward somehow, some day. I didn’t want to just buy someone’s lunch in McDonald’s, though. I wasn’t hard up at that time in my life. I could have afforded to buy my own lunch quite easily, so I wanted to help someone who actually needed help. The opportunity presented itself a couple of months later, when an elderly acquaintance of mine asked if I could loan her a couple of dollars for a gallon of gas, as she was broke and it was a few more days until her social security check came in. I knew she wasn’t trying to scam me, because I actually knew her, and she’d never asked this before, and hasn’t since. Anyway, I followed her to the gas station, and filled up her car on my card, and told her not to worry about it. Did she ever pay it forward? Knowing her, it’s doubtful, but I don’t care. Did I do this just to make myself feel better? Hmm, I don’t think so, but maybe. So what. Someone in a tight spot was still helped. Did I feel pressured to do this because some kind stranger paid for my lunch? No, not really. Honestly, I probably would have bought the other woman’s gas anyway, when she asked for a couple of bucks. Why? Because I could afford it, and I’m not a dick.

tl;dr version: This is a good thing. Please try to not be super cynical and shit all over it.


I’d feel more ashamed about being photographed buying McDonalds.


I agree. Sure, it’s a little thing, paying for someone’s food (and sure it’s crappy food) but it’s still a nice thing.

Also agreed.


Now, if this had happened that year we were directly in line behind a million-dollar Monopoly instant winner*, I’d have been fine with it.

*True story

[Edit: Oops - meant to reply to the post in general, not to Mindysan’s post]

Interesting. I hadn’t realized this (edit: “pay it forward” chains in fast-food drive-throughs) was a “thing”.

I had this “pay it forward” thing happen to me at a McD’s a few weeks back, and found it amusing. But analyzing how I felt afterwards, I think the primary emotion was gratitude at a “random act of kindness” done by the person in front, rather than feeling virtuous about paying for the person behind. For me, the money was pretty close to even, but the feeling of gratitude lasted for quite some while.

However, I think it would have been quite diminished if I’d been told that X people in front of you have done the same. As it was, I’d assumed until now it was just the whim of the person in front of me.

Also, isn’t the natural end of these when there’s no-one behind you to pay for rather than when someone “breaks the chain”?

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I guess I’m not what you mean by it being a thing? I was just echoing @Israel_B and @danimagoo about maybe not just rejecting this cynically. I suppose the “pay it forward” thing has been a thing since that movie (or maybe before that). I guess it gets more important to thing in terms of being empathetic and kind to strangers since we seem to live in an extremely cynical age, devoid of empathy and geared towards maximum selfishness and individualism.

I do think that matters. And you can never know how an act of kindness will impact people, too. Maybe someone is having a very bad day and has fallen into a sneaky hate spiral:

Or maybe even worse. Sometimes those small, random acts of kindness can be a much larger thing to someone.


Oops. I hadn’t meant to reply to your article, just the topic in general.

By a “thing”, I just meant that I hadn’t heard of these “pay it forward” chains at drive through lanes of fast food restaurant, but apparently it’s not all that uncommon.

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Oh! No problem at all!