Drive-Thru Customers Pay It Forward 55 Times

(Credit: Courtesy of Wendy Clement)

Customers at the Heav'nly Donuts restaurant in Amesbury, Mass., sure were in a good mood when 55 drive-through guests paid for the driver behind them, surprising employees and restaurant frequenters inside and outside the small store.

Wendy Clement, manager at that Heav'nly Donuts store explained that one regular female customer comes and purchases for the car behind her early on Friday mornings.

On this last particular Friday, there was no car behind that customer. About four hours after the employees opened up shop at 5 a.m. the next day, that same customer came to the drive-through the next day and purchased for the male driver behind her. Happily surprised that his order was paid for, he decided to pay for the customer behind him, and so the chain began, as first reported by a local CBS station.

"We didn't really start telling the car there was a chain until the 17th or 18th," Clement said. "That's when we started telling them, 'Okay, you're car number 17. It's up to you. Do you want to continue the chain?' Everyone was willing and happy to do so."

The bills ranged from $1 to more than $20.

Clement, who has worked at the Heav'nly Donuts for two years, said last year there was a stretch of 20 cars.

"We thought that was fantastic last year, and this year, I don't even know how we got to 55 cars," she said.

The chain finally stopped around 11 a.m., because there was no car behind the 55th customer, so that driver didn't see anyone for whom to pay.

"As soon as the 55 th car left, three second later, a car pulled up," Clement said.

Clement gives a nod to the community, which she describes as a "small little town near the beach" where "everybody knows everybody" and her customers.

"We have a few customers here and there who are very generous," she said. "They'll say, 'I'll pay for the car behind me - no big deal'."

Heav'nly Donuts, established in Methuen in 1975, has about a dozen locations.

While Heav'nly Donuts' feat is admirable, it's still far from the 228-order stretch in a Winnipeg Tim Hortons in Manitoba, Canada, on Dec. 21, 2012.

Still, Clement said the event pumped up the employees and customers inside the store as well.

"They were asking what was going on and they thought it was fantastic," she said.

When asked if there was anything special about the day that would have sparked a line of generous customers, Clement said, "It was a typical Saturday: people going to the beach and people going to the lake."

Whether it was in the water or the sun, Clement said she wants to thank everyone involved in the 55-car stretch.

"All our customers were in a great mood, both our indoors and drive-through customers," she said. "It was just a great day."