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Pay it … backward

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Nothing says good will towards man like free Starbucks.
Photo: Pierofix / Flickr

"How's your day going?" the gentleman at the Starbucks in our Anthem Highlands shopping center offered as my wife and I drove up to his window to collect our coffees on a recent Saturday. I gave the rote response — “Fine, fine, thanks for asking.”

"It's about to get a whole lot better," he said, a slightly mischievous look on his face.

"How's that?" I wondered out loud, figuring we were about to be offered a free sample of the new Starbucks instant brand. I'd already tried it — not a fan — so I was ready to turn down a possible offer of another.

"The lady up front just paid for your coffees."

"Uh? What? Are you serious?" I stuttered, looking over at my wife as if, somehow, she might know more about the obvious joke that was being played on us.

"Yep. Your drinks are all paid for. Some guy about 10 cars ahead of you paid for the person behind him, and it's been going ever since."

"That is so cool!" I said without a hint of irony.

Feeding off my enthusiasm, he asked, "Would you like to pay for the car behind you?" I said yes — even before stopping to think about the possibility of that "car" being a van with 12 people, all ordering venti Caramel Macchiatos. I quickly looked in my rear-view mirror after responding. Turns out it was a Ford Taurus, and it was only one cup of coffee. Still, the quantity or price felt a tad insignificant in comparison to just being part of the experience.

Next time the line is long I'm going to start my own chain. Do me a favor — keep it going as long as you can.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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