TORONTO – Tim Hortons may be basking in the free publicity following coffee giveaways at stores in three Canadian cities, but the company says it has no hand in it.
Over the last four days there have been three separate, but equally generous donations of free coffee for the next 500 customers in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.
Tim Hortons spokeswoman Michelle Robichaud says the most recent act of kindness, which occurred in Ottawa this morning, was the work of a city bus supervisor who is about to retire.
The other two donors have chosen to remain anonymous and Tim Hortons says it will not unveil their identities unless asked to do so by those individuals.
As news spread on social media, some skeptics speculated that the donations were part of an elaborate publicity stunt by the coffee chain.
But Robichaud says that’s not the case.
“As brilliant as this is I can assure that Tim Hortons has nothing to do with the good Samaritans that have been purchasing coffees across the country,” she said.
The first donation happened on Monday, when a young man in his mid-to-late 20s walked into a downtown Edmonton Tim Hortons and ordered a large double-double and a Boston cream doughnut.
He then asked the cashier to ring in 500 large coffees for the next customers and left quickly after paying the $859 bill with his debit card.
“It is not uncommon for people to pay it forward at our restaurants, that is something that happens every day,” said Robichaud. “But something of this magnitude is not anything we’ve seen before.”
Robichaud believes the charitable acts in Ottawa and Calgary were inspired by the first donation in Edmonton.
“We are thrilled that this first very generous act of kindness in Edmonton has created somewhat of a snowball effect across the country,” she said.
“If ever there was going to be a copycat this is the one you would want.”