Dunkin’ worker sparks debate by saying he pocketed customer’s ‘pay it forward’ money as tip

'That's smart I'm doing that.'


Rachel Kiley


Posted on Jul 28, 2022

A Dunkin’ Donuts employee’s TikTok about a customer’s attempt to “pay it forward” has inspired a number of responses.

Sahmir (@ssahmirr) shared a short clip of himself vibing behind the Dunkin’ Donuts counter, writing, “me after a customer tried to pay for the person behind them in drive thru but i took the money as a tip.”

He clarified further that he “wish[ed he] was joking,” prompting viewers to take his claim at face value.


Tipping culture evokes a lot of emotions in people, especially those who have spent time working in industries where you pretty much need that extra cash coming in to survive. But tipping in a drive-thru, at a place required to pay its workers at least minimum wage (as opposed to servers), can be controversial.

But the idea of “paying it forward” in the drive-thru line—the practice of paying for the order of the people behind you—can be controversial as well. While they sometimes pop up as feel good stories in the news when a chain goes for a particularly long time, they can also put people in an awkward predicament if they don’t feel like carrying the tradition on.

So it’s no surprise that @ssahmirr’s video prompted an array of reactions from viewers coming at his decision to snag the money from different perspectives.

“WAIT I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS,” wrote @reeeseonline.

“Ayeee that’s smart I’m doing that,” @444mikah said.

Another viewer said that, as a drive-thru worker, they “did this once … and [the people] came back cuz they were together,” while another claimed their “grandma found out they was doing this and got the whole place fired,” in regards to a different establishment.

As enthusiastic as some were about trying this out for themselves, others pointed out there could be legal ramifications if the money wasn’t specified as a tip, which seems worth keeping in mind.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @ssahmirr via TikTok comment and Dunkin’ Donuts via email.

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*First Published: Jul 28, 2022, 12:10 pm CDT