Chain-Breaker: Meet The Man Who Ended The ‘Pay It Forward’ Chain At Starbucks

It was an act of kindness that went on for 11 hours and through 378 orders at a St. Petersburg, Florida Starbucks. It became a national source of pride in the wake of all the bad things currently going on in the world. The grass-roots “Pay it Forward” movement had created something unique and inspiring all day long, until one unnamed woman couldn’t afford to keep it going. Then a new chain started and got into the 100s before a man ordered two venti coffees, had one paid for by the customer in front of him, and then purposefully decided to not return the favor.

The chain-breaker has been identified as Peter Schorsch, a local blogger. According to the Tampa Bay Times, he ended the chain will a full conscience, as it had become less of an act of kindness and more of an act of guilt. Schorsch blogged on his website about his decision to break the chain.

“What is not an act of kindness is what was happening today at the same Starbucks, where customers were being told that they had had their drink paid for and then asked would they like to pay for the drink of the person next in line.

“That’s not generosity, that’s guilt.

“When a new ‘Pay It Forward’ chain started today, I had to put an end to it.

“So, yes, I drove to the Starbucks, purchased two Venti Mocha Frappuccinos and, even though someone in front of me had paid for one of my drinks, I declined the barista’s suggestion to pay for the drink of the person behind me.”

Schorsch even tweeted his actions as he pulled up to the menu outside.

At the time that Schorsch ruined the good times, the barista working the drive-thru was 29-year old Vu Nguyen, who would inform customers that their purchase had been paid for by the person in front of them, and then Nguyen would ask of the customer wanted to “return the favor.” At no time was guilt established, and at no time was anything expected. Peter Schorsch was also very quick to come forward with his admission that it was he who broke the chain, which suggests he did it solely for the publicity to his own blog. According to the Times, Schorsch did tip the barista $100 for her troubles, but one can only imagine how many coffees that $100 could have bought for the next people in line.


The “Pay it Forward” movement is nothing new at Starbucks, and it usually happens in the drive through. The marathon chain of 378 was not a record, as explained in an article on The Inquisitr. That record goes to a store in Connecticut that had over 1,468 “Pay to Forwards,” and it lasted several days until it was finally broken. As reported by NBC Connecticut, that store is the U.S. record holder. According to Starbucks, the longest chain ever was well over 19,000 in a Starbucks located in Zhuhai, which is located in South China. The website goes on to explain that customers were buying drinks in large quantities, and one man even bought 500 drinks for the next 500 customers.

For one day, the 378 “pay it forward” coffees became a positive news story, competing with Ferguson, Missouri, the brutality of ISIS, and the conflict between Israel and Hamas. And it all came to an end because of one selfish man with suspect motives, and $100 he determined was better spent as a tip and not to “Pay it Forward.”

[Images courtesy of Merchandising Matters and]