Gift Guides, Events and Holiday Cheer

Conn. Starbucks Customers Paid It Forward After Christmas

By Ari Mason
|  Sunday, Dec 29, 2013  |  Updated 8:36 AM EDT
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The Christmas spirit has customers

Sabina Kuriakose and Thomas Kienzler

The Christmas spirit has customers "paying it forward" at a Newington Starbucks drive-thru.

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Nearly 1,500 customers "paid it forward" at a Connecticut Starbucks this week, footing the bill for the drivers behind them in line at the drive-thru window.

The days-long initiative came to a close around 6 p.m. Saturday when a customer broke the chain of holiday cheer that had been ongoing since early Christmas Eve, according to a Starbucks employee.

In total, 1,468 customers paid for each other's drinks at the Starbucks on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington, Conn.

On the first day, more than 300 customers had "paid it forward" by the time the store closed at 8 p.m.

Patrons kept the good cheer going Christmas Day, and then again throughout the week.

“It was a nice surprise we were just going to get some drinks and go home,” said customer Kaitlyn Willametz, who "paid it forward" on Christmas Eve.

Willametz said it was a generous gesture that she hadn't expected from a stranger. She returned the favor by picking up the tab for the next person in line.

"It means a lot people are still looking out for other people and being caring and bringing out the holiday spirit,” she explained.

“It feels so good," said another customer, Cathy Shemeth. "It’s awesome. That's what Christmas is all about."

Starbucks employees said they hope the initiative will continue when Christmas comes around next year.

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