‘Pour it forward’ stories of kindness from Canadian streets

CBC photoHave you ever had a total stranger pay for your purchase before walking away? Turns out, many people placing orders across Canada have experienced this kind gesture.

On Saturday, we ran a Maclean's story of drive through goers dabbling in the art of pouring it forward at Tim Hortons: Winnipeg motorists paying for lunch and coffee orders of the strangers lined up behind them. It may be spreading through the city now, but the tradition of "paying it forward" has been around for a while — for centuries, according to Maclean's.

One Yahoo! Canada News reader explains the practice was popular at the Golden Gate Bridge toll booth in the '70s. And based on other responses, this trend's been rolling through our country for a while, too.

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Suzzanne McDonald, from Guelph, Ont., wrote that she saw quite a few customers do so during her five-year stint at Tim Hortons.

For the past eight Decembers, Ryan Berry's coworkers have been getting gift cards and using them to pay it forward for other people's orders at a coffee shop.

"One of the best team building things we do in a year," he wrote on our Yahoo! Canada News Facebook page.

It's refreshing to hear of such kindness, as news of online bullying and violence continues to spread. And some take this beyond paying for your donuts and bagels.

"Doesn't only have to be Tim's. I've done it at the grocery store. The gesture makes you feel emotionally rich," posted Rosie on Yahoo! Canada News.

"The first time it happened to me I was floored," stated Jeremy, who now returns the favour whenever he has spare change. He enjoys seeing the treated drivers of the cars behind him as they try to chase him down to see who he was.

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Garry B had experienced this firsthand in a Toronto airport three weeks ago, when a woman grabbed his shirt and said: "I'll buy."

"At first I thought it might be some trick to talk about my insurance needs," he wrote. "[But] It was just indeed a kind stranger."

But the most touching story we've seen so far came from a man who had an oyster dinner with his wife to mark their fifth anniversary. When the couple asked for the bill, the two were told that a stranger sitting beside them paid it all, almost $300.

"He had paid and left without saying a word," the commenter wrote.

"Come to think of it, I've never returned that favor to anyone. I will very shortly."

We'd love to hear your other stories of kindness. If you have one, share it with us in the comments below!