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Paying it forward on Valentine's Day

Generosity in the drive-thru lines touches hearts on holiday of love

Posted: February 14, 2014 6:13 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2014 6:13 p.m.

Karla La Rosa of Saugus thought it was a wonderful Valentine’s Day surprise.

On the way to visit her mother in Friendly Valley Friday, she stopped by the drive-thru window at the Bouquet Canyon Road Jack in The Box to pick up lunch for her ailing parent.

The surprise came when the window attendant told her the lunch was paid for by the person in line ahead of her.

“I was the sixth car to pay for the lunch behind me,” La Rosa said. Once the first person started it by paying for two lunches, it just kept going.

Of course, La Rosa paid for the driver’s meal behind her — and saved $2 in the process.

But “It wasn’t about the money — it’s the goodwill,” La Rosa said. “Everybody was reacting.”

Restaurant manager Betty Solis said “paying it forward” with a Jumbo Jack and shake isn’t at all unusual for her particular drive-thru — especially around holiday times. “They do it often,” she said of her customers.

But she was especially proud Friday because participants continued paying it forward through nine cars — a record, at least so far, she said.

Solis, who’s been at the Jack in The Box since 1995, said she first saw the practice appear when the movie “Pay it Foward” came out in 2000. A driver initiates it by buying two lunches — his or her own and the one for the occupant behind.

“I feel it’s a blessing. It touches me,” Solis said, admitting she was a bit miffed by the woman who broke the chain and drove off with a free lunch on Friday.

But it made La Rosa’s day — and that of her mother, she said.

“I told her her lunch was courtesy of the person in the red car in front of me,” La Rosa said, “and we laughed through the whole meal.”




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