I'll pick up their tab: A contagious chain at Starbucks

This man paid for the car behind him in the Starbucks drive-thru Monday afternoon.

We've all heard the phrase, pay it forward ... turning someone's good deed into another for someone else.

In the midst of the Christmas holiday, hundreds of people are warming the hearts of strangers by way of the Starbucks drive-thru.

"People just get inspired and they want to make somebody's day or turn their day around. So they'll start paying for the car behind them or sometimes the individual behind them whose in line getting ready to purchase," Ellen Mickels said.

They are acts from a complete stranger, who many times, has already left before you can say, 'thank you.'

"We just inform them that your order has already been paid for, or your pastry or sandwich is taken care of. And the look on their face is just priceless," Mickels said.

It's a chain reaction ... and not with just one person's order. This weekend, the drive-thru saw several drivers pay for multiple carloads.

"They're keeping us on their toes. They're saying, okay, I'll get the next two or three and even when we tell them there's a van load and there's six drinks, they're like, it doesn't matter. We'll still get that one," Mickels said.

You can imagine the confusion at the register.

"It's not too bad. We try to keep it all in order. Thank God for labels," Mickels said. "It's just completely contagious. It just gets bigger and bigger every year. I think our longest strand of cars is 47. And we lost count this weekend. I'm sure we blew that away. And it's not us. It's the customers who are choosing to do this. It's not us at all."

If you've been a part of this chain or perhaps one at another restaurant, let us know on Facebook. We'd love to hear your story.