Paying It Forward


Just as it’s often true that “hurt people hurt people,” so the reverse is also often true: grateful people give to others. In December 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic filled with enough social crises to shake anyone’s faith in goodness, the BBC reported on a “pay it forward” cause-and-effect at a Brainerd, Minnesota, Dairy Queen drive-through. When one customer asked to pay for the car behind him in addition to his own meal, he started a chain reaction that lasted through nine hundred customers, $10,000 in sales, and two-and-a-half days. When the store shut down for the night, on both nights the last customer paid in advance to start off the next day. The goodness impacted more than the nine hundred customers: employees at the restaurant, and bystanders on social media, and everyone in the community were lifted by witnessing such a small yet significant demonstration of gratitude leading toward generosity. (“More than 900 Cars ‘Pay-It Forward’ in Random Act of Drive-Through Kindness,” BBC News, December 9, 2020,