The trend of covering the coffee tabs for hundreds of strangers really took off Thursday, especially in one particular coffee shop just north of downtown Edmonton – and one woman is issuing a challenge to others.

The Tim Hortons kiosk in the Royal Alexandra Hospital was visited by a Good Samaritan not once, but twice in one day.

Late Thursday morning, staff said a man dressed in scrubs paid for the next 500 cups of coffee.

Then, a few hours later, a woman spent about $1,300 for the next 800 customers.

That woman is Monica Kavanaugh, she said she had been visiting her father in the hospital, and heard about how the man bought the first round that morning.

“I thought ‘why not give some coffees to people?’ So I said I’m going to beat the 500, and I’ll buy 800 coffees,” Kavanaugh said.

“Pay it forward, that’s the way that I look at it, paying it forward.”

Kavanaugh is issuing a challenge to others to also pay it forward.

“I hope that someone matches my donation,” Kavanaugh said. “I’ve heard that I’m the only female so far that has donated, so I’m putting out a pledge for other females to come forward and maybe match my donation, or exceed my donation.

“That would be awesome.”

The name of the first Good Samaritan wasn’t released, as were his reasons for paying for the coffees – leaving the customers who benefited from the deeds to only speculate on why they spent so much on strangers.

“I think maybe because he’s been there, and he’s appreciative,” Customer Joanne Whittaker-Horton said. “Maybe someone bought him a coffee and he’s doing it in return, only en-masse.”

Thursday’s massive tabs are only the latest in a growing trend.

On Monday, an anonymous customer spent more than $800 for 500 coffees at a downtown Tim Hortons, and since then, there have been similar reports in Red Deer and Calgary.

The act of kindness has also been reported in Ottawa, on Thursday it was reported a man handed over some money to staff, and then walked away.

“A very Good Samaritan just walked in very quietly and gave my supervisor $860 and asked us to pay and treat all of our guests until the money is up,” Melissa Dass, a manager at the Tim Hortons in Ottawa said.

Tim Hortons has maintained this is not a publicity stunt.