When you witness an act of kindness, it instantly warms your heart and restores your faith in humanity. Many people show compassion for others by buying their coffee or meal in a drive-thru line. You’ve probably heard tons of stories like this of people paying it forward at their local Starbucks. This happened recently at a Dairy Queen in northern Minnesota, where 900 cars took part in the good deed!

Employees at the fast-food chain couldn’t believe how many cars participated, but perhaps the Christmas spirit had something to do with it. Around the holidays, many people feel more cheerful and want to help lift the spirits of others around them. The customers at the Dairy Queen in Brainerd, Minnesota certainly must’ve felt the joy of the season. Also, the pandemic has brought out kindness in many people, especially since so many have lost their jobs or loved ones.

We need more kindness!

With so much going on in the world right now, the “chain reaction of kindness” brings hope into people’s hearts. Paying for someone’s meal may not seem like much, but it can remind people others care. It can turn a bad day around and help people remember we’re all in this together. Little acts of kindness like that truly brighten up a dark world and keep us connected.

The store manager of the Dairy Queen, Tina Jensen, explained to CNN how the pay-it-forward chain began. One day in December of 2020, a man pulled through the chain’s drive-thru telling the cashier he wanted to pay for the car behind him. While Jensen said she’s seen people pay for others before, it usually only lasts for 15-20 cars, not 900! None of the employees at the store expected what happened during the lunch rush that day.

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The act of kindness surprised everyone, including the customers

Actually, the act of kindness continued for two and a half days, turning into 900 acts of kindness. In total, the store made around $10,000 from this extended pay-it-forward event. They’d never seen anything like it, and it brought everyone so much love and joy during a difficult time.

 Employees helped keep the chain going by telling each customer that the previous car had paid for them. Naturally, this encouraged them to pay for the person behind them, and the act of kindness continued. The assistant manager said they would inform customers how many cars had paid ahead of them to keep the momentum going. When the employees told them it had been five, fifteen, and eventually 30 cars, it got customers excited to keep participating.

No one wanted to be the one to break the chain!

 Jensen told CNN that you can help people in many different ways. Paying for someone’s dinner may seem like a small act of kindness, but it can make such a big difference. You never know what someone goes through in their daily life, so being generous and thinking of others can mean a lot. Obviously, the pay-it-forward event at Dairy Queen touched so many people, including those reading the story later.

 When the restaurant closed the first night of the event, one customer left $10 so they could continue the next day. Then, when they closed Friday night, the same thing happened again, so they picked it right back up on Saturday morning. Upon closing each day, Jensen updated the store’s Facebook page with the number of cars that had participated.

 The kind acts performed at this fast food chain brought out the best in people

Heidi Bruse decided to pick up dinner at the Dairy Queen on a Friday night and got to experience the act of kindness. She said those types of things help restore your faith in humanity, especially during difficult times. Heidi said that in today’s world, you, unfortunately, see the angry, tense, selfish sides of people. However, the drive-thru line brought out pure kindness and love in people during those few days.

 She said getting free ice cream wasn’t even the highlight of the evening. Being able to tell her family that she had paid for someone’s meal and helped keep the chain going was.

 Jensen said that since the pandemic started, the restaurant has struggled, like many food establishments. They had to shut the lobby down temporarily, and had to reduce capacity to 50%. With only the drive-thru open, they have lost revenue some months, but the huge turn-out that weekend helped tremendously.

 In addition to the revenue boost, the chain reaction of kindness that spanned three days boosted employee morale. The kitchen crew at the restaurant kept asking other employees if the chain was still going. When Jensen said yes, everyone got excited and hoped it would continue for a while. With everything going on in the world last year, the act of kindness helped employees stay positive.

Also, the employees loved being able to see customers’ reactions when they said their meal had been taken care of. Jensen said it was a great reminder that no matter what the world throws at us, we should never stop caring. Also, focusing on all the positives instead of the negatives helps people get through tough times. The act of kindness helped everyone remember that as long as we take care of each other, everything will be okay.

Final thoughts: challenging times bring out the kindness in people, like at the Dairy Queen in Minnesota

 There are many stories about people paying it forward in drive-thru lines, mostly at coffee shops. However, the act of kindness at a Dairy Queen in Minnesota was unprecedented. 900 cars took part, and the chain of generosity lasted two and a half days! Many people felt touched by others’ kind hearts, and so they wanted to contribute too.

 These are challenging times on the planet right now, but this story is a great reminder to always be kind. Reach out to people when you can, and never stop spreading love and compassion. Now, more than ever, we all need each other.

You can watch the heartwarming act of kindness here: