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Over 900 cars paid for each other’s meals at a Dairy Queen drive-thru

They say that kindness is contagious, and at this Dairy Queen drive-thru in Minnesota, kindness went viral. What started as one customer paying for the person’s meal behind them led to over 900 people paying for the next customer’s meal. (1)

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Dairy Queen Drive-Thru Sees Over 900 People Pay for Each Other’s Meals

On Thursday, December 3, a man came to the drive-thru window at a Dairy Queen in Brainerd, Minnesota. The man requested to not only pay for his meal but the order of the car behind him. According to store manager Tina Jensen, this isn’t entirely uncommon. What is unheard of, however, is how long this chain of paying-it-forward lasted. (1)

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Image Credit: Dairy Queen | Facebook

The chain went on for two-and-a-half days, with more than 900 customers paying for one another’s meals. The store saw $10,000 in sales, starting from that first customer’s act of goodwill. (1)

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The Dairy Queen began posting updates on their Facebook page, as they couldn’t believe how many people were continuing the chain. (1)

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Image Credit: Dairy Queen | Facebook

“During times like these it kinda restores your faith in humanity a little,” said one of the participating customers. “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.” (1)

Benefit for Everyone

According to Jensen, her staff benefited from this chain of kindness just as much as the customers did. Seeing the customer’s faces when they were told their meal was covered, and then watching them pass that kindness along really lifted her staff up during what has been a difficult time for the restaurant industry. (1)

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By the time the chain finally ended on Saturday, it seemed the whole town felt lighter. People from around the United States and the world have praised the story, saying that it restored their faith in humanity. (1)

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The Science of Being Kind

If there’s one thing that the people of Brainerd, Minnesota know now more than ever before, it’s that being kind makes you feel really, really good. As it turns out, there is actual science behind this. (2)

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When we do kind things for other people in return, it causes something called “the helpers high”. This is when happy hormones or feel-good chemicals like oxytocin (the love hormone) fill our system and have a positive impact on our health. (2)

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Some of these positive health impacts are thought to include (2):

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  • Lowered blood pressure and improved heart health
  • Increased self-esteem and optimism
  • Increased energy
  • Feeling calmer and less depressed
  • Decreased anxiety and stress
  • Increased feelings of self-worth
  • Fewer aches and pains and a longer life expectancy

Kindness lights up the “pleasure centers” of our brains and makes us feel happier. It also releases another hormone, serotonin, into our bloodstream. (2)

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Serotonin is responsible for wound healing and also helps to calm us and make us feel happier. Many antidepressant medications work by stimulating serotonin production. Being kind does this all on its own. (2)

You Can Learn To Be Kind

Kindness is highly teachable. One of the best ways is through paying-it-forward, like in the Minnesota Dairy Queen drive-thru. You can teach yourself and set an example for those around you by practicing kindness every single day. (2)

It doesn’t have to be a big, grand gesture, either. It can be a simple compliment to a friend, your boss, or even a complete stranger. It’s making room in a traffic jam to let someone in or leaving a thank-you note for a delivery person. (2)

Other acts of kindness are (2):

  • Cooking dinner for your roommate
  • Cleaning the house for your partner
  • Being there to listen to a friend in need
  • Forgiving someone instead of holding a grudge
  • Leaving a positive review online for a restaurant or business

There are hundreds of thousands of little things you can do every day to just be a little bit kinder. The easiest of all of these is to simply say thank you more. Even just letting people know that you appreciate what they do for you can go a long way. (2)

The pay-it-forward chain at the Minnesota Dairy Queen drive-thru has inspired millions of people to be a little bit nicer. Let’s all join in and make the world a better place, one small act at a time.

References

  1. Over 900 cars paid for each other’s meals at a Dairy Queen drive-thru in Minnesota.” CNN. Alisha Ebrahimji. December 10, 2020.
  2. The Science of Kindness.” Random Acts of Kindness.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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