Over 900 Cars Pay For Each Other's Orders At Minnesota Dairy Queen

by Cassandra Stone
WCCO - CBS Minnesota/Youtube

It started as a random act of kindness with one stranger, and turned into the sweetest story about a Dairy Queen ever

Because even cold winter temperatures will not keep Minnesotans from enjoying a frozen ice cream treat, a local Dairy Queen was hopping the other day. While people who live in the cold enjoying cold things isn’t newsworthy, this enormous act of kindness and paying it forward sure is. It started with one man who paid for the ice cream for the car behind him at the DQ drive-thru, and it ended up with nearly 1,000 cars also taking part in paying it forward.

Tina Jensen, the store manager the Dairy Queen in Brainerd, MN, told CNN a man came by the drive-thru window on Thursday and asked if he could pay for his meal and for the car behind him. She said that while this type of thing happens on occasion, it usually runs its course within a dozen cars or so. This time, the pay-it-forward chain of kindness lasted for two and half days, and over 900 cars participated. As a result, the store raked in $10,000 in sales.

“There’s all different types of ways to help people,” Jensen told CNN. “I think this touched a lot of people that we didn’t even know it touched, deeper than we know. And you don’t know what’s going on in a person’s life.”

Jensen kept the community updated through the store’s Facebook page. After the DQ closed for the night last Thursday, one car left $10 to begin the chain for the following day.

“Not sure if its the sun shining, or the Christmas Spirit is already here… But it started with one and we are now at about 48 cars that have paid it forward! Lets keep this caring train going!” the post read.

No, I’m not crying, you’re crying over people buying each other Blizzards and Dilly bars. Whew, do we all need little pick-me-up stories like this right now or what?

“During times like these it kinda restores your faith in humanity a little,” customer Heidi Bruse told CNN. “The way the world is now you see a lot of anger, tension, and selfish behavior. What we witnessed was pure kindness and it was a breath of fresh air really.”

The restaurant industry as a whole has faced enormous hardship this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the utter failure of Congress to offer sustainable financial relief to restaurant workers. Jensen said being open at half-capacity and takeout orders only has been difficult. But this streak of kindness provided a much-needed burst of positivity and hope amid the stress.

“No matter what’s going on, take care of each other, be positive, be happy, and don’t focus on the negative, we’ll get through it,” she said.