Amazing things have been happening across the U.S. to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season despite COVID-19.
Random acts of kindness have been happening all over to lift up communities during these unprecedented times and celebrate the spirit of giving this holiday season. Recently, a Dairy Queen in Brainerd, Minnesota, had more than 900 customers participate in a “pay it forward” chain.
“A gentleman during our lunch hour came through and said he’d like to pay for his meal and the car behind him. The next car pulled up and we said, ‘The gentleman in front of you paid for your meal. If you’d like, you can pay it forward,’” general manager Tina Jensen said. “She was like, ‘Yes, of course,’ no questions, just, ‘Go for it.’”
Participants helped the restaurant by posting the phenomenon on social media. And so, it continued for the next two days.
“The community was posting it on different pages, and the word spread,” Jensen explained. “We heard a few different times, ‘Oh, I’ve seen it going on Facebook, I wasn’t sure if it was still going,’ and we’d tell them they were the 300th car or something and that’s where the excitement really came in. People would get very, very excited.” She added, “There would be times where people ordered a $5 Blizzard and the car behind them would be a full family getting, you know, a $30 or $40 order. To keep a chain going, you’ve got to make sure that somebody is paying it forward, and that’s what we did. They were encouraging the attitude when people were coming through and the energy was just really good to see.”
Jensen acknowledged the impact of the pandemic around the world. “Since March, tons of things have changed, tons of things are going on, and it’s not just in the store. We are people. We have things going on outside. The energy was definitely uplifting. There was no negative energy going on,” she said.
The need for some positive energy during such a difficult year has caught fire not only in Minnesota, but in other states as well. Yet another random act of kindness recently made headlines in West Virginia.
Normally, when a driver is caught speeding or committing other traffic violations and hears a police siren, it’s not a welcome sound. However, The South Charleston Police Department decided to turn the tables a bit and offer violators some grace. Partnering with Chik-fil-A, instead of issuing tickets, they gave out gift cards.
“BIG shout out to SCPD,” wrote Jeanna McCallister Lilly on Facebook. “I ran a red light (accidentally of course) and was, as expected, pulled over. The officer took my ID and car info and when he came back, he surprised me by NOT giving me a ticket, but a gift card for Chik-fil-A. How wonderful is that??”
The franchise had approached the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge, according to the South Charleston Police Department’s Facebook page, asking if they’d like to distribute gift cards for the holidays. Soon, the officers had $500 worth of $10 cards in hand.
“Usually, people aren’t too happy when you pull them over, but to put a smile on someone’s face like that, it’s a good feeling,” Patrol Officer Justin Morris said.