While such "pay it forward" chains usually last for 15 to 20 customers, this one truly shocked Dairy Queen manager Tina Jensen.
When one customer at a Dairy Queen drive-thru in Brainerd, Minnesota, decided to "pay it forward" by covering the bill for the customer behind him, a flurry of other folks did the same. Soon enough, more than 900 drivers had paid for each other's meals, CNN reports. This year has been tough for so many Americans and this was perhaps their way of cheering someone up. The incident took place last week on Thursday night, and manager Tina Jensen was shocked that so many customers took part in the act of kindness. The whole chain of paying it forward resulted in $10,000 of sales.
This is not the first time Manager Jensen has witnessed a pay it forward chain. However, she explained, it usually fizzles out after about 15 or 20 customers. This time, it went on for much longer than she is used to. "There [are] all different types of ways to help people," she said. "I think this touched a lot of people that we didn't even know it touched, deeper than we know. And you don't know what's going on in a person's life." In fact, one care even left $10 to reignite the chain again on Friday morning and then again on Saturday morning.
Jensen shared updates of the chain on the drive-thru's Facebook page. Heidi Bruse was one of the customers who experienced the act of kindness firsthand and participated in it herself. She shared, "During times like these it kinda restores your faith in humanity a little. The way the world is now you see a lot of anger, tension, and selfish behavior. What we witnessed was pure kindness and it was a breath of fresh air really." To this grateful customer, however, that was not even the best part. It was being able to tell her family that she paid it forward too to keep the chain going. "Not that we got free ice cream," Bruse affirmed. "The gesture was way more valuable."
To the Dairy Queen manager, the experience was equally valuable because the restaurant industry has been brought to its knees by the ongoing public health crisis and ensuing lockdowns. Jensen said that with the main floor shutting down and only being able to open for half the branch's capacity have been tough on the outlet. Right now, her top priority is keeping her team's morale high and her customers safe.
She has thus taken increased disinfecting and cleaning measures. However, the pay it forward chain has played a really important part in boosting her employees' morale. The reactions of customers to the cashier letting them know that their meal had been taken care of was really touching, according to the manager. Jensen affirmed, "No matter what's going on, take care of each other, be positive, be happy, and don't focus on the negative, we will get through it."