young woman in car (l&r) handing mcdonald's bag out of drive thru window (c)

Gargantiopa/Shutterstock @samantha.says/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Their total is $17.42. … My total was $2.19’: McDonald’s customer says worker tried to get her to ‘pay-it-forward’ for a cop in the drive-thru

‘I already pay their salary in taxes, you want me to pay for their lunch too?’


Braden Bjella


A user’s clip on TikTok has sparked discussion after they claimed a McDonald’s drive-thru employee asked them if they wanted to pay for a police officer’s food alongside their order.

In a clip with over 279,000 views as of Friday, TikTok user Samantha (@samantha.says) recounts the whole experience.

“I pull up to pay, and then, as the lady is still holding my card, she goes, ‘Just letting you know that there’s a cop behind you,’” Samantha says. “I was kind of like…’oh. Okay.’ And she was like, ‘Do you want to pay it forward?’ And I was like, ‘What?’” 

@samantha.says My total was $2.19 like brooo #mcdonalds #mcdonaldshacks #grimace #grimaceshake #grimacesbirthday #smalltownproblems #defundthepolice #drivethru #acab #ftp #payitforward #weird #autistic #neurodivergent ♬ original sound – Samantha

The employee then allegedly told Samantha that the police officer’s total was $17.42. Samantha notes in the caption that her own total was slightly more than $2.

Samantha says she then told the employee that she would not like to ‘pay it forward.’

“She looked really disgusted,” Samantha says of the employee. “She was like, ‘It’s just a lot of people around here do that for cops.”

“I was like, ‘Honey, in this car, the blood type is ACAB+,” Samantha jokes. ACAB is an acronym for All Cops Are Bastards.

In the comments section, users claimed that they, too, would not have paid for the police officer’s order.

“The way I would’ve been like ‘thanks for warning me’ even though that was obviously not her intention,” a user offered.

“Tell them you’ll pay it forward if they add bacon to everything on the order,” another joked.

“Lol I’d laugh pay for it and then take it since I paid for it,” claimed a third.

“Like d*mn, I already pay their salary in taxes, you want me to pay for their lunch too?!” an additional TikToker stated.

Some users questioned whether police officers had to pay at McDonald’s at all.

“Not only that but I’m pretty sure their food gets comped there doesn’t it?” asked a user.

“Why doesn’t McDonald’s pay for it?” questioned a second.

Samantha made this same point in a follow-up video.

@samantha.says Replying to @roemilo The tea #mcdonalds #bootlickersbelike ♬ original sound – Samantha

The answer appears to vary by location. While individual McDonald’s locations have done promotions offering free McDonald’s meals to police officers, whether they consistently receive free food seems to vary by location.

On TikTok, many users were confused about why the employee tried to start the pay-it-forward chain in the first place.

“So many scams out there, also. She could have kept the $17.42 and made the cops pay also,” observed a commenter. “She shouldn’t be asking. It’s an ask for a reason.”

“I have never heard of a worker trying to start a pay it forward,” detailed another user. “Wtfff like excuse me who are you??”

The Daily Dot reached out to McDonald’s via email and Samantha via TikTok comment.

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