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Fast Food

'Merry Christmas' prompted hundreds to pay it forward at McDonald’s drive-thru

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McDonald's customers spread Christmas cheer by paying for the customer behind them at a drive-thru window in Fla. (AP)

A McDonald’s customer in Florida wanted to pay it forward at the drive-thru window with a "Merry Christmas," not "Happy Holidays."

McDonald’s cashier Marisabel Figueroa Lopez was working the drive-thru window last Wednesday when she says a woman drove up and told the employee that she wanted to pay for the car behind her.

“She gave me her card, and she said I would like for you to tell her [the customer in the car behind her] a message. And I was like ‘Okay.’ She said I want you to tell her to have a ‘Merry Christmas’,” Lopez told Fox 13.

The cashier went on to explain that the woman specifically asked Lopez to say “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays.”

Lopez said she thought the idea of paying it forward was a great idea.

But the spirit of Christmas giving didn’t end there. A chain reaction of customers paying it forward continued throughout the afternoon. From about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 250 people had paid for the car behind them, says Lopez who began keeping track on a piece of paper after the 15th customer came through.

When the 251st customer arrived, she seemed confused by the concept, according to Lopez.

"She was speechless," the cashier told Bay News 9. "She said, 'What do I do?' And I said, 'You just have a Merry Christmas,' and she went off, and it stopped right there."

Still the cashier was amazed by how long the chain lasted and hopes it inspired others around the country.

"It's the spirit of giving -- she felt like she could start something. And she did. I want to tell that person out there, 'Thank you.’”

This isn’t the first story of lengthy pay-it-forward drive-thru customers. Last year, a chain of 378 people paid it forward at a Starbucks drive-thru in St. Petersburg, Fla.