Random act of kindness sparks 2-day 'pay it forward' chain at Dairy Queen

ByKamari Esquerra KTRK logo
Monday, December 28, 2020
One customer sparks 2-day giving chain at Dairy Queen
More than $10,000 worth of food was paid forward at Dairy Queen last week.

BRAINERD, Minnesota -- One customer at a Dairy Queen in Minnesota sparked a community to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Every once in a while, Dairy Queen general manager Tina Jensen will have a drive-thru customer offer to foot the bill for the car behind them. When this happens, a Dairy Queen employee will ask the gifted customer if they would like to pay it forward by taking care of the customer's meal behind them. Jensen, who has worked at Dairy Queen for four-and-a-half years said she's seen about 15 to 20 cars keep the chain going, but last week hundreds of cars continued the act of kindness.

"I don't even have words for it," Jensen said. "I was amazed."

The multi-day chain began during the lunch rush on Thursday, Dec. 3 at a Dairy Queen in Brainerd, Minnesota when a drive-thru customer offered to pay for the next car's meal. That customer in turn paid for the driver behind them and the cycle continued.

"Sometimes it goes on for a couple of cars, sometimes it doesn't, but it just kept going and going," said Molly Wooten, assistant manager of Brainerd Dairy Queen.

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A customer offered up a generous tip on the same day a restaurant closed down for the winter due to COVID-19.

At the end of the day on Thursday, $10 was left over to keep the chain going into the next day. After hearing about the giving chain, another person called in a donation of $80 giving the fast food restaurant a total of $90 to pay forward to drive-thru customers on Friday morning.

A total of 900 customers participated in the act of kindness that lasted until the evening of Saturday, Dec. 5. More than $10,000 worth of food was paid forward.

"I think it just says that we all have each others' backs, strangers or not," Wooten said. "Somebody stood up and wanted to do something for another and it was kind of like a domino effect. One good thing brings out good in everybody."