At approximately 7 a.m. on Wednesday, a woman in her mid-60s ordered an iced coffee from the drive-thru at a St. Petersburg, Florida, Starbucks and offered to pay for a caramel macchiato ordered by the person behind her.
For the next 11 hours, nearly 400 customers followed suit, the Tampa Bay Times reports, "paying it forward" for the people behind them.
"It was a pleasant surprise," Melissa Garrand told Bay News 9. "Everybody likes their coffee paid for. So, it was nice."
When customers pulled up to the window to pick up their orders, they were informed that their drinks were already paid for and asked if they would return the favor. According to Grant Drain, 378 consecutive customers did, shattering the store's previous record of 141.
According to the Times, the chain was broken shortly after 6 p.m., when "customer No. 379 — a woman in a white Jeep Commander — pulled into the drive-through and ordered a regular coffee." When she was asked if she wanted to participate, she declined, "saying she just wanted to pay for her $2.25 drink and not someone else's."
The barista told the paper "it appeared the woman didn't understand the concept of paying it forward."
While impressive, the Florida store's pay-it-forward streak is nothing compared to the one that started last year at the Starbucks on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington, Connecticut, on Christmas Eve.
According to NBC Connecticut, 1,468 customers "paid it forward" during a run that lasted more than four days.