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250 McDonald’s Drive-Thru Customers Pay It Forward in Florida

The Christmas-inspired streak lasted nearly six hours.

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

A deluge of generosity descended on a Florida McDonald's on Wednesday with a pay-it-forward chain that lasted through 250 vehicles. According to ABC, the whole event began with an act of Yuletide cheer by customer Torie Keene when she went to pay for her meal at the drive-thru window. Cashier Marisabel Figueroa recounts how Keene requested to pay for the meal of the next car in line and insisted that she tell that unwitting recipient "Merry Christmas," rather than "Happy Holidays." When the customer received Keene's message, they too felt compelled to pay for a customer's meal.

"I feel very blessed to have been a part of all that."

Figueroa says the chain lasted from around 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. "It kept going and going," she says. "After the 15th car I started tally marking the number of people that were participating on a piece of paper" and all the while telling each customer the same message. The cashier notes that one particularly inspired individual picked up the tab for three cars. "I feel very blessed to have been a part of all that," she adds.

The chain finally came to an end when the baffled 250th customer arrived at the check-out window. "She was speechless," the cashier tells Bay News 9. "She said, 'What do I do?' And I said, 'You just have a Merry Christmas,' and she went off, and it stopped right there."

This lengthy pay-it-forward chain isn't the first to hit a fast food drive-thru this year. In July, 215 customers participated in a chain at a Georgia-based Chick-fil-A. Starbucks is also known to inspire the spirit of giving in its customers. In December 2013, some 1,468 customers at a drive-thru Starbucks participated in a Christmas Eve pay-it-forward chain.