New trend: Paying it backward at drive-thru windows

Viewers share their stories with RTV6

INDIANAPOLIS - It's a trend taking off around the country, people "paying it backward" at drive-thru windows. When you pull up to pay for your meal you quickly learn the customer in the car in front of you already took care of it.

"People are wanting to regain some positivity," said Kaitlin Dunlap, with the Chick-fil-A restaurant in southwest Houston. "Doing something nice for the car behind you in the drive-thru lane is an empowering feeling."

But recently the customers at that southwest Houston Chick-fil-A took karma to a whole new level, each person paying for the customer behind them after finding out the customer ahead of them already paid for their order.

Several viewers told us this isn't an isolated incident.

"We have two options of how to handle negative people. We can either stoop to their level, or we can bring them up to ours."

"Someone did this for me last year at a Steak 'n Shake in Lafayette. I started doing it once in a while, too. It does make you feel good -- both to pay for someone else's meal and have someone pay for yours!" Viewer Lori M. said.

Another viewer said so many people took part in "paying it backward" recently at a Fishers Starbucks that she couldn't tell who started it -- or who ended it!

"Every single person in the drive-thru line paid for the person behind them," Viewer Julie C. said. "I'm actually curious to see how long it went on for!"

Others said they were on the receiving end of this good deed and didn't even realize it at the time.

"I was in line at the Franklin, Ind., McDonald's two weeks ago. A young gentleman was in front of me. I wondered why he bought my iced coffee," Viewer Kelly H. said. "I was so dumbfounded and trying so hard to figure out how to thank him that it never crossed my mind to pay the next car's bill. I still wish I could thank him!"

Meanwhile, one viewer told Scripps affiliate RTV6 she used the "pay it backward" method not to randomly please someone, but to see if she couldn't put some spring back into a grumpy man's step.

"I once pulled through into a very packed McDonald's -- the kind that has two lanes," Viewer Kayla S. said. "It was very slow going and the man behind me, for some reason, was getting so frustrated with me. He was yelling and visibly irritated with the situation. I was so tempted to get mad and yell back at him that he needed to just calm down, but instead, I decided to 'kill him with kindness' and pay for his meal.

"When he pulled up to the window and found out I paid for him, he was caught completely off guard and I saw a change in his demeanor as he yelled 'thank you' to me while I was pulling away," Kayla S. said. "We have two options of how to handle negative people. We can either stoop to their level, or we can bring them up to ours."

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