“I was shocked when my manager called me up at the end of the night and she said, ‘It’s still going.” That’s Tina Jensen, the store manager of a Dairy Queen in Brainerd Minnesota, speaking with Anderson Cooper and still surprised when an emergent daisy chain of pay-it-forward drivers covered each other’s meals for more than two days. The drive-thru began when a driver on Thursday requested to pay for his meal and that of the car behind him, and the trend didn’t let up…for over 900 cars in all!
When all was said and done, Jensen’s Dairy Queen drive-thru racked up $10,000 of purchased meals for the cars behind each driver. It became a rallying point for the Brainerd community, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its resultant effects on the restaurant. Customers were so keen to keep the donation train going that the final cars of the night on Thursday and Friday left behind $10, just to ensure that the following morning’s customer wouldn’t break the pay-it-forward combo.
This wasn’t an example of a targeted charity donation or even any kind of specific expression of kindness to an individual. It was just a matter of a community looking to support one another sight-unseen, and also see just how far that support could go with continued energy. It’s not the first time anyone’s done this – Jensen mentioned that this drive-thru circumstance happens once in a while, but lasts for 15 or 20 customers at most. Well, this packed weekend, Brainerd set a new record that’s going to be hard to top.