'Screaming Her Head Off': Pay-It-Forward Line at Taco Bell Goes Awry, Sparks Chaos at Drive Thru The "pay it forward" model has become popular at fast food drive-thrus.

By Emily Rella

Drive-thru workers and customers alike have a love-hate relationship with the concept of "pay it forward" ordering, which is when one customer will offer to pay for the person behind them in hopes of starting a chain reaction of kindness.

But one Taco Bell customer documented how the pay-it-forward practice can go awry in a TikTok video that's now going viral. In a clip that's been viewed nearly 40,000 times, TikToker Meredith Donovan explained to viewers that she was "screamed at" after placing a $60 order at the fast food chain in California.


Excuse how busted i look, i just needed my taco bell okay

♬ original sound - meredith d

"I placed my order and the car in front of me pulls up to the pay window and I'm on my phone, and I just hear a car door slam," Donovan explained. "I look up and this lady has gotten out of her car in front of me and is running towards my car screaming her head off. I couldn't make out what she was saying at first."

Donovan said that she locked her door and rolled up her windows out of fear before she realized that the woman was screaming, "Scam!"

Related: Baristas Slam 'Pay It Forward' Chains on Drive-Thru Lines: 'I Actively Don't Want You To'

The woman ahead of her thought that she was being scammed by the person who had started the "pay it forward" chain by purposely having Donovan order a massive order. In other words, the woman was accusing Donovan of setting the whole thing up so that she didn't have to pay for her own meal when it really was just a case of wrong place, wrong time.

"The car before her paid for her meal, so she was going to be a good person and pay for the car behind her," Donovan explained. "I guess the car didn't get behind her in time. That actually was my expensive order for all my food, but we had a little laugh and she apologized."

Viewers in the comment section were mixed about the pay-it-forward model.

"Stop the 'pay it forward' BS," one person said bluntly. "If you want to help, order extra food and give it to the growing number of homeless people you're seeing on the streets."

"Obviously not everyone set up for pay it forward," another lamented. "Bad idea."

Others wondered how she managed to spend so much.

"55 tacos 55 Crunchwraps 100 cheese roll-ups," one user joked.

Last October, a Starbucks barista went viral for slamming the "pay it forward" model after explaining that in participating in it, baristas aren't being tipped on the orders that are being paid for.

"When you get to the window, you say 'I do not I do not want to pay for the person behind me,' you take the money that you were gonna pay for your drink and give that to the barista as a tip as they deserve," the Starbucks employee explained in a clip that's now been viewed over 2.4 million times.

Though the world could use more random acts of kindness, the drive-thru line may not be the place to try.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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