For most people, a drive-thru serves one purpose: Convenience. It gets you food on-the-go—fast—so you can get Jonny to soccer practice and Meredith to dance class without skipping a beat.
But on Sunday evening, a McDonald’s drive-thru in Scottsburg, Indiana, was much more than a common convenience. It became a movement.
It was Father’s Day evening when a restaurant regular pulled into the drive-thru.
“She saw a dad in the van behind her,” said Hunter Hostetler, who watched it all unfold. “He had like four kids in the car, he had a bunch of happy meals, two Quarter Pounders, a Big Mac meal and some other stuff. She was like, ‘I’m going to pay for the father behind me, and I want you to tell him Happy Father’s Day.'”
And those three little words ignited a powerful chain reaction that just BLEW the cashier’s mind.
Touched by the unexpected free meal and the “Happy Father’s Day” wishes, the dad accepted graciously. But it didn’t stop there. He turned around and handed over the payment for the couple’s car behind him.
And so it began. What started as two cars turned into 10 cars, which quickly turned into 20, 50, then 100 cars! Each driver paying for the car behind them.
“I had people telling me, ‘No, it’s going to stop here, It’s going to stop at 100. You’re not going to make it past,'” Hunter recalled.
From 8:30 p.m. to midnight, a pay-it-forward movement left customers and employees alike feeling grateful for the strangers who stepped away from the chaos of the everyday to do something nice for another person.
Abby Smith and her boyfriend were car number 161. She said the whole thing was “pretty amazing.” She continued, “It’s a great feeling to know that there’s a lot of great people out there still.”
The chain reaction ended with car 167. But the kindness that each one of those customers experienced, was only the beginning.
All the praise for the 167 cars that came through the Scottsburg drive-thru Sunday evening. Your simple acts of kindness are a reminder that we are called to care for others. May this inspire you to serve someone in your community today. You never know—it just might start a chain reaction.