Couple Starts Weekend-Long Pay It Forward Chain At Strip District Diner

STRIP DISTRICT (KDKA) — Kelly O’s Diner is a comfortable corner where customers congregate for breakfast and friendship.

When a pair of police officers stopped in Saturday morning, a couple at another table paid their bill.

Manager Danielle Martino says it started a “paying it forward” chain reaction.

“And the policemen were like, ‘That’s not necessary,’ but the table did it anyway. So [the officers] paid for somebody else’s breakfast, and somebody paid for that breakfast, and somebody paid for the next breakfast, and it just kind of snowballed,” Martino said. “And 76 checks later, we had nice a really nice day of forward going.”

It spanned an entire weekend. Owner Kelly O’Connor says it’s not that surprising, given the employees and customers, on an average day at the diner.

“Whoever that lovely couple was who started that on Saturday, made a lot of people happy. Made a lot of gratitude and thankfulness go around,” she said. “Overwhelming feeling of kindness. I think that’s really important.”

Paying it forward ends when the restaurant closes for the day. But executive chef Mike Dinello served up a solution.

“Tuesday, she was like, ‘We still have money left over from that. What do we do?’ And I said, we might as well give it to somebody. So we decided to give it to the cops, because they started it all.”

On the Fourth of July, they brought breakfast sandwiches to the officers at the Zone 2 station in the Hill District.

“For Kelly O’s to come up on a holiday, when most people are off, and deliver breakfast sandwiches at the end of it was absolutely awesome,” said Zone 2 Commander Crystin Zett.

With paying it forward, what goes around, comes around.

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