The Starbucks Coffee at the corner of Bypass 72 and Montague Avenue generated some buzz Tuesday morning as a string of 10 customers elected to pay for the coffee ordered by the customer behind them.
The practice of paying it forward by buying coffee for the next car in line has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon recently, with some Starbucks having strings of hundreds of customers paying for someone else's coffee. The practice has even come under attack by some who say people should find someone truly in need if they are really interested in paying it forward.
For Starbucks manager Teri Shirley, it is the act of doing something for someone else and the messages the baristas pass that makes it special.
"It's fun," Shirley said. "People will ask you to pass a message to the person behind them. Then you'll see someone who is having a bad day and it puts them in a better mood when they get to the window."
While the Starbucks in Greenwood is not as busy as some others around the country, it has still seen its fair share of pay it forward chains. Shirley said the only reason the string ended this morning is because there were no more cars in line. She says the spontaneity and randomness make it unique for everyone involved, including the barista.
"It's such a random thing," Shirley said. "Sometimes it goes a long time. Sometimes there are only a few cars in line. Watching it happen is always great because it puts everyone in a good mood."
Abby Banks, whose 1-year-old son Wyatt became one of the youngest people to ever push himself in a wheelchair earlier this year, had already planned on paying for the person behind her when she got to the window and discovered the chain had already been started. She used the opportunity to pass a gift to the person behind her via the barista.
“I pulled in this morning planning to buy the coffee of the person behind me,” Banks said. “I had no idea that the chain of kindness had already started. I was shocked to find that my coffee had already been paid for. I gladly paid for the person behind me and left a Fight Like Wyatt bracelet for her. It warms my heart to know that someone else woke up this morning with a desire to do a simple act of random kindness and that act spurred others to do the same.”