While I’ve never been the recipient of a pay-it-forward cup of coffee, I’ve read about the trend dozens of times over the past few years. Someone walks into the local coffee shop and buys their coffee as well as coffee for the person behind them. The idea is that this starts a chain of paying it forward. Well, this idea ended up being too mundane for one Canadian man.

The manager of an Edmonton, Alberta Tim Hortons, Joanne Averion,  describes a nondescript customer in his 20s, "He asked the cashier, 'How many coffees do you sell in a day?' Then he asked her to ring in 500 large coffees.”

Averion was taken aback by the request but after the customer explained that he intended to purchase a cup of coffee for the next 500 customers, she understood that this was a pumped up pay-it-forward request and according to the Calgary Herald, it took the store until 8:00 am the next day to give out those 500 coffees.

The very nature of paying it forward makes it ripe for a bit of viral success and so it isn’t surprising to hear that a man in Calgary, Alberta learned of the Edmonton coffee bonanza and followed suit.

“The act of generosity had a sequel two days later in Calgary. On Wednesday, a man went into Calgary's Tim Hortons in the city's northwest and gave the store almost $900 to hand out free coffees to those behind him in line.”

I have to admit, this story made me smile. Now I understand that $900 could go a long ways towards helping a hungry family put food on the table or put clothes on the backs of dozens of homeless individuals but this one act touched the lives of approximately 1,000 people.

It is my hope that this single act made a positive impact on those 1,000 individuals and that this one free cup of coffee causes them to think differently about life. All to often we get caught up in ourselves, and I’m just as guilty of this as the next person, but something like this causes us to look outward. Kudos to the two gentlemen that purchased a day's worth of pay-it-forward coffee in Alberta.

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