photo of a car pulling up to starbucks (l) closeup of a coffee drink (m) photo of a hand holding the coffee drink (r)

@im_blessed55/Tiktok Remix by Max Fleishman

‘They tried to set me up’: Man breaks ‘pay it forward’ streak at Starbucks drive-thru in viral TikTok, sparking debate

'The person behind me's bill was 46 when mine was 6.'


Clara Wang

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 11, 2022   Updated on Jun 7, 2022, 7:29 am CDT

A TikToker broke a 23-car “pay it forward” streak at the Starbucks drive-thru because the car behind him had a $46 bill, sparking a debate on the platform.

TikToker @im_blessed55, who has over 66,200 followers, declined to pay for the customer behind him at the drive-thru, according to his viral TikTok. The 14-second video got over 120,000 views since being posted two days ago.

“How y’all feel about this am I wrong? What would y’all have done?” the TikToker questioned in the caption of the video.


How y’all feel about this am I wrong? What would y’all have done? #starbucks #viral #fyp #payitfoward

♬ original sound – I’m Blessed

The video shows @im_blessed55 in line at a Starbucks’ drive-thru. A text overlay and text-to-speech effect note: “At Starbucks, they were doing the pay for the person behind you thing. I pulled up and ended a 23-car streak!!”

“They tried to set me up,” it continues. “The person behind me’s bill was 46 when mine was 6.”

The “pay-it-forward” phenomenon encourages drive-thru customers to pay for the customer in front of them. While seemingly a well-meaning feat of social engineering, the trend is controversial and has been criticized by Starbucks baristas specifically for being inconvenient.

His decision to break the streak created a slight rift in the comments section. Most of the comments supported his decision, however.

“Yeah. No. I don’t pay for a $46 order,” @mcfllylikeag6 said.

“As a drive-through employee, my favorite people were the ones who would end these godforsaken lines,” @broccilicheddarsoup wrote.

Others pointed out that they TikToker he could’ve at least paid the equivalent of his own bill.

“I would have put $6 on the order and the responsibility on the next car to keep it going,” @bbbabyshorty suggested.

The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks via email and @im_blessed55 via TikTok message.

Editor’s note: Due to a technical error, our original message to this TikToker may not have been delivered. We have since reached out.

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*First Published: Jan 11, 2022, 11:57 am CST