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Ovation: Paying It Forward, Or Backward, In Winnipeg.


TimHortonsLineWhen visiting Toronto I determined that, generally speaking, Canadians are quite friendly.  Whereas during a typical workday at home I rarely, if ever, speak to strangers, I found that the people of Toronto were far more likely to nod and smile and simply act pleasant.  So it doesn’t surprise me a bit that customers in a Winnipeg Tim Hortons coffee shop recently made the news for “paying it forward.

Apparently, one generous customer started a chain of customers paying for the person behind them that lasted for about three hours and involved about 228 customers.  Employees at the restaurant, arguably the Canadian equivalent of Starbucks, indicated that the energy among the staff and customers was infectious as they made a big deal of calling out numbers and involving the people waiting in line.

“They were calling out the numbers, ‘We’re at 162,’ and they made a really big deal of it.  I think that’s what helped keep it going … because nobody wanted to be the one who broke that streak.” – Troy Thompson, Tim Hortons’ Manager

Eventually, the holiday cheer came to an end when a man decided that he would not pay for the three coffees ordered by the person behind him despite the fact this his own coffee order had been paid for by the customer before him.  (Scrooge!)

I’ve only done something like this once … so far.  Many years ago, I paid for the lunch of the car behind me in line at a fast food drive through window.  At the time, it was almost easier since paying with cash was the norm.  I handed the cashier a twenty-dollar bill and told her to apply my change to the car behind me.  Nowadays, I rarely carry cash at all so it hasn’t really occurred to me.

I’m going to do this again someday soon.  In fact, maybe one of my New Years resolutions will be to pay it forward (or backward) once each paycheck.

Do you ever pay it forward … or backward?


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From → Ovations

  1. Although I’ve never been to Canada, I find that I absolutely love Canadians. They are the kindest to me in blogworld, and some of my books’ biggest fans. Who knew a girl who spent the first twenty years of her life in south Florida could find Canada as her virtual second home?

    Now, as far as paying it forward…

    Since last year’s resolutions had everything to do with accomplishing things for myself, I have decided that this year will be all about showing gratitude toward others. You have a good new year, filled with peace, love and happiness!


  2. Barneysday permalink

    We’ve visited Canada many times, and find the people warm, open and friendly, a decided change from the grumpy US.

    Yes, we’ve paid it forward a few times, and always anonymously. We’ve picked up the checks of people sitting in another booth in a restaurant has been our practice. Senior citizens, a stressed looking family, a some money towards a tank of gas for a construction guy in an older truck, refusing a reward for a found wallet, instead asking them to pay it forward to someone else.

    Its a good feeling to just be a nice person, with no recognition or reward.

    Thanks for sharing


  3. How amazing! my husband and I have paid it forward (backwards) in numerous fast food lines. It feels so wonderful to do random acts of kindness. I have one memory in particular that really inspired me to pay it forward. I used to work for Red Lobster for many years and one day an elderly lady came in to eat by herself. She was sweet and kind of timid, she really wanted to eat at our restaurant but was worried about the prices. She was a widow and had to watch her money because her husband was the bread winner and sadly was no longer with her. She finally decided on something and while she was in the bathroom the couple across from her wanted to pay for her meal so she did not have to worry and could simply enjoy her meal. I arranged for them to pay for the bill and off they went. When I informed her the bill was taken care of to see how moved and great full she was almost brought tears to my eyes! since then I try and pay it forward, backwards, sideways any time I’m able. This and so many more reasons is why I’m writing the blog’s I am, I want to inspire people like people have inspired me to be a nice person! thanks for sharing your wonderful story! Who knows maybe one day the gentleman you named so fittingly as scrooge will be a thing of the past!


  4. That is awesome! I wish it were a world-wide thing!


  5. I was born & grew up in Winnipeg. When I paid it forward it was also at a Tim Horton’s (drive thru) in Alberta.


  6. It is inspiring, isn’t it? My husband recently received a gift when the person in front of him at the drive-thru paid for his meal. It has made us both want to be kinder in general. Maybe if enough of us try to pay it forward occasionally, the US can lose its “grumpy” reputation!


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