coffee shop manager speaking in car with caption 'we just had to fire a barista at the coffee shop that I work at' (l) coffee shop manager speaking in car with caption 'well he was having cars pay for the car in front of them' (c) coffee shop manager speaking in car with caption 'and he was just siphoning off this money' (r)


‘I’m writing that down’: Coffee shop manager says barista lied to customers about a pay-it-forward line and pocketed the money

'The way you move through Corporate America is unmatched.'


Sarah Kester


Posted on Mar 28, 2023   Updated on Apr 14, 2023, 12:57 pm CDT

Everyone’s heard of pay-it-forward. This is when a customer in a drive-thru, usually at a coffee shop, discovers that their order was paid for by the car in front of them. 

In order to keep the kindness momentum going, the customer then pays for the car behind them. 

But what about paying it forward to the barista? (And no, we don’t mean tipping). This is when a barista asks customers to pay for the order of the car in front of them—and then pockets the money instead. 

This scheme is what got a man recently fired, according to Francis (@thesephew) on TikTok, who says they were the barista’s manager. The Daily Dot reached out to Francis via TikTok comment. 

@thesephew Dude makes a mean cold brew too. #drivethru #storytime #fired ♬ original sound – TheRobbyShow

In his viral video, which had been viewed more than 577,000 times by Friday, Francis shared that the fired worker was stealing hundreds of dollars per shift. 

He also explained that it was the man’s ex-girlfriend who outed him. 

“Apparently he broke up with his ex last night and his ex knew that he ran this little scheme,” Francis began. 

“So she came through the drive-thru today, and then she threw a coffee straight back at him, and then asked to see a manager.”

After telling Francis everything he had been doing, the barista was let go for theft. 

Users in the comments, rather than criticizing him, applauded the barista. “Dude’s a legend,” one wrote. 

“The way you move through Corporate America is unmatched,” another added. 

“Team barista,” commented a third. Some users even expressed their intent for copying the idea. 

“That’s smart. I’m writing that down,” wrote a fourth. 

Since it was the ex-girlfriend who outed the man, some were hesitant to believe that she wasn’t just a woman scorned who was trying to set him up. 

“Did you have proof besides her? It can be considered malice intent & motive to lie cause they broke up. Meaning you falsely fired him,” one argued. 

Another agreed: “So you fired him with absolutely no proof other than his ex gfs word… who would have ZERO reason to flame him.”

According to Francis, the man’s ex-girlfriend also threw coffee at him while he was working. Some commenters argued that the man was assaulted and called on Francis to involve the police. 

“Sounds like he was also assaulted at work by how the customer threw the coffee at him. I get theft is higher but did you call the police due to it?” they wrote. 

In the end, the moral of the story was a bit fuzzy. Viewers said that the lesson was that you shouldn’t tell anyone—not even loved ones—your shady business. 

“Moral of the story: Don’t tell your business to anyone not even your bf or gf,” a user commented. 

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*First Published: Mar 28, 2023, 5:29 pm CDT