Thousands ‘Pay It Forward’ at South Dakota Coffee Drive-Thru

PHOTO: More than 3,000 customers have been paying it forward at owner Michael Smiths coffee shop, "Rev It Up" in Sturgis, S.D. in this undated photo.PlayKOTA
WATCH South Dakotans Add Dose of Kindness to Morning Cup of Coffee

A small town in South Dakota has experienced an unexpected outpouring of coffee and goodwill during the past six months. At Rev it Up Espresso, a drive-thru coffee trailer, more than 3,589 customers have paid for a stranger's cup of coffee behind them. This is a pretty remarkable feat considering that the population of Sturgis is only 6,627.

"Every time I would say that the person in front of you has bought your coffee they get a big smile," owner Michael Smith told ABC News.

"Even those that take the free one will often come back and double it up when they have more funds," Smith continued, saying he is both excited and inspired by his town's outpouring of generosity.

Sturgis hosts the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally each year, one of the largest gatherings of motorcycle enthusiasts and riders in the world. "All you see on TV of Sturgis is of the rowdiness during the rally," Smith told ABC News. "But this is a wonderful town with wonderful people, and to see the generosity instead of the greed is really nice."

PHOTO: More than 3,000 customers have been paying it forward at owner Michael Smiths coffee shop, Rev It Up in Sturgis, S.D. in this undated photo.KOTA
More than 3,000 customers have been paying it forward at owner Michael Smith's coffee shop, "Rev It Up" in Sturgis, S.D. in this undated photo.

Smith opened the drive-thru coffee shop two years ago to supplement his income as a local pastor at the Sturgis Open Bible Church. He previously worked for 26 years as a school bus driver, mainly for kids with special needs.

People are happy when they receive a free cup of coffee in the morning because "it's a blessing," Smith said. "And they are equally blessed when they know they can bless the next person."