Paying It Forward from the McDonald’s Drive-Thru

When you’re waiting for your food in the fast food drive-thru line, it can feel like forever before you finally make it to that window. Imagine finally getting to that tasty finish line to find out that someone in front of you had already paid for your meal. That’s exactly what happened to one man and his family last weekend on Father’s Day. The act of kindness sparked a movement that would continue for the rest of the day.

It all started when one woman waiting in a McDonald’s drive-thru in Scottsburg, Indiana asked to pick up the tab for a man and his four children who were in the van behind her. It just so happened to be Sunday, June 18, and the woman asked cashier Hunter Hostetler to wish the man a Happy Father’s Day before driving off. When the older man, who had placed a particularly large order, pulled up to the window, the kind gesture inspired him to pay for the two cars behind him. The chain reaction that followed spread to 167 cars before the end of the day.

Abby Smith just so happened to be in one of the cars that made its way through that drive-thru between 8:30 and midnight of that evening when the restaurant closed. “It’s wonderful knowing that there’s still a lot of great people out there,” she said in an interview with the local news station.

But it wasn’t just the customers who were inspired to act that day. The store manager shared that, at one point, a customer threatened to break the chain by refusing to participate. So the McDonald’s employees decided to pool their money to pick up the $27 tab to keep that from happening. This serves as just one more example of how one generous act of kindness, like buying someone a burger, can inspire others to pay it forward, sending ripples out into the world that will extend far beyond a seemingly small act.

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