Starbucks Patrons Spread the Cheer

Pay-it-forward treat proves contagious at Washington store
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2007 5:02 PM CST
A coffee-drinker walks away from a Starbucks store in downtown Seattle in this Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In what's being hailed as a true display of holiday goodwill, customers at a Starbucks in Marysville, Wash., have been "paying ahead"—paying for the next car in the drive-through order—in a “chain of cheer” more than 800 lattes long. The Seattle Times reports that the trend was started by an anonymous older woman who frequently treats those behind her.

But after the woman's visit Wednesday, the recipient of her holiday cheer passed it along, and a zealous barista asked following customers if they wanted to keep the chain going. The store finished with a positive balance, so Thursday’s first driver got a free drink and a chance to pay ahead—this time in front of a gaggle of TV crews covering the fad.