Starbucks customers in Nevada took the spirit of Christmas to a whole new level last week by "paying it forward" a record 73 times.
"It was the coolest thing," said Brittany Murray, the 19-year-old barista who was working the drive-thru window last Friday. "I had a lady almost cry because someone pitched in for her order."
Murray, who has worked at this Reno Starbucks for one year, says customers will sometimes offer to pay for the person behind them in line, but that it usually dies off after four or five cars.
"It's always the customer who starts it and I just keep it going," Murray said. "I have a spiel I say."
"I thank them for coming and then say, 'The person in front of you did a pay-it-forward and said merry Christmas and have an excellent day. I don't know if you want to pitch in for the car behind you. It's totally up to you,'" she said. "I let them know they don't have to but it's something they can do."
On this day, to the amazement of Murray and her co-workers, the drivers who came expecting to pay $10 or less for their caffeine fix ending up paying for one, two, even three orders behind them.
"Every single car that came through had either pitched in with as little as $2 or they'd buy the whole order behind them or a few cars behind them," Murray said.
The giving chain, first reported by blogger Melody Overton, only ended because of a computer glitch on Starbucks' end.
"The seventy-third car offered to pay for the car behind her but because of the glitch the car in front of her had paid for what was another drink so we didn't count it after that," Murray said.
"We were pretty upset about it."
Murray said though that was by far the longest pay-it-forward chain the restaurant has ever seen, the locals' generosity didn't end there.
"I've already had four people today start it," said Murray. "I think since it's close to Christmas everyone is in the giving mood."