Chai tea from Oprah Winfrey is available in hot and cold servings at Starbucks.
Chicago Tribune—MCT via Getty Images
August 21, 2014 5:52 PM EDT

A Florida woman started what became a chain of goodwill Wednesday. Around 7 a.m. she ordered an iced coffee at a drive-through Starbucks in St. Petersburg and offered to pay for a caramel macchiato for the stranger behind her. He, in turn, paid for the person in the car behind him.

And so it went.

378 people participated in the “pay it forward” chain until around 6 p.m., when customer 379 declined to participate in the experiment. The barista, Vu Nguyen, believes the last customer didn’t understand the concept, according to the Associated Press.

Way to be a downer, Stranger No. 379.


Write to Eliana Dockterman at

Read More From TIME

Related Stories