Nightly News   |  October 24, 2013

Paying it forward, one drive-through at a time

Generous fast-food patrons are spreading a little kindness to their fellow restaurant-goers by becoming the anonymous benefactors of other people’s meals. NBC’s Janet Shamlian reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, contrary to the bad news in the forecast tonight and on any given night there are good things happening in the world. we try to highlight them with regularity. in the case of tonight's story there are random the actses of kindness going on regularly. that includes a growing trend at drive-thrus across the country. our report tonight from nbc's janet shamlian .

>> reporter: on a brisk october morning what's unfolding in the drive-thru of a tulsa bagel shop is heartwarming. when ashley nelson reached the window, cash in hand she learned the driver ahead had already paid.

>> he wants to pay it forward.

>> reporter: the next customer heard the same.

>> he paid for your food.

>> reporter: it continues all morning. more than two dozen people had breakfast paid for.

>> it's a nice thing. it makes you uh do it for someone else.

>> reporter: everyone was caught off guard except the store's owner. you weren't surprised by what happened this morning.

>> no. it happens frequently. several time as week people come in and just say i would like to pay it forward.

>> reporter: at all kinds of drive-thrus. there is a surge of stealthy giving.

>> they paid for me and my grandfather's meal.

>> reporter: at this chick-fil-a, a chain of 60 drivers bought for the next in line.

>> it's fun for things like this to happen.

>> reporter: it's called paying it forward. when it happens in the drive-thru the random act of kindness is more accurately paying it backwards to the driver in the rear-view mirror. it keep it is gift anonymous. the it is not a new idea. many believe it is happening more often. catherine hyde wrote "pay it forward" which became a movie.

>> that's me. that's three people and i am going to help them.

>> reporter: now a social movement .

>> it's been going on too long to be a flash in the pan. it's not a fad.

>> reporter: the good deed doer doesn't stick around.

>> what a nice way to make an impression on somebody's life.

>> reporter: super sizing goodness. as the drive-thru becomes a vehicle for secret kindness.

>> your meal is free.

>> oh, thanks!

>> reporter: janet shamlian , nbc news, tulsa.