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Coffee philanthropy 101
Unknown women pays it forward, buys 100 coffees for customers at coffee shop

Cody Punter
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, July 31, 2013

At around 11 a.m. last Friday, a woman pulled into the drive-through at the Tim Hortons on Old Airport Road and began making what seemed like an average order - two medium coffees, one black and one double-double.

NNSL photo/graphic

Felix Lockhart shows off one of the 100 free coffees that were given away at Tim Hortons on July 26. An unidentified woman purchased 100 coffees to be given to the next 100 customers who ordered coffee. - Cody Punter/NNSL photo

However, before she was asked to pull forward to the next window, she told the attendant at the window that she would like to order 100 large coffees.

"She came through the drive through and said she wanted 100 coffees," said Loan Lee, manager of Tim Hortons.

Lee said she couldn't believe it when one of her employees came and told her about the order. "I asked her, are you sure?"

While the thought of trying to hold 100 scalding beverages while driving a mini van sounds like a logistical nightmare, the woman did not want the coffee for herself.

Rather, she seemed to be one of the latest good Samaritans to take part in the nationwide philanthropic phenomenon of buying coffee for strangers.

The craze began at a Tim Hortons in Edmonton when a man walked into a Tim Hortons and ordered 500 coffees for the next 500 customers who ordered one. The act of kindness has since been repeated in Ottawa, Calgary and, most recently, Yellowknife.

"I think it's a great thing to do," said Stuart York, who works as a heavy duty mechanic. "It does make people feel better and smile a lot more.

"The world could use a lot more of that."

Some people were skeptical that the random acts of paying it forward were not so random, and they were in fact part of a slick marketing campaign.

Regardless of where the coffee came from, most people were appreciative of the gesture.

"I am paying back my student loan, so I appreciated the philanthropy," said Matt Hoover.

Felix Lockhart said that it didn't matter who paid for the coffee.

"I don't want to know the details. I just want to say thank you," said Lockhart. "It's not so much the enjoyment of it, it's the feeling. I'm not talking about the caffeine either, I'm talking about one person supporting another.

"It makes me want to do good, and I don't question why people do that."

Tim Hortons' corporate office, did not return calls to comment.

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