Finding Peace At Grand Openings
In the past five years, I have been to 48 Chick-fil-A Grand Openings to participate in the First 100. I have driven almost 900 miles to attend a Grand Opening in Louisiana and flown across the country twice to be a part of Grand Openings in California.
I went to my first Grand Opening in January 2006 — six months after my wife of 52 years passed away. I enjoyed every minute of it, from camping out in the parking lot, to meeting fellow Chick-fil-A fans, to interacting with the Team Members and Operators and of course the years’ worth of free Chick-fil-A food.
I started making friends with some of the others who regularly camped out for the First 100, and now we travel to Grand Openings together. What started off as a way to get out of the house and get my mind off of the huge loss of my wife has turned into some of my fondest memories and something I look forward to.
Chick-fil-A is not just a special place to me. It was also special to my wife, Joanne. I was first introduced to the chicken chain in 1975, working for a company that sold and serviced kitchen equipment. It was love at first bite! Since then, Chick-fil-A was the only place my wife would let the grandkids eat at in the mall.
Chick-fil-A has become such a big part of my life that I went to a jeweler with my and my wife’s wedding bands and had them melted down into a single ring. I then asked the jeweler to stamp the Chick-fil-A logo into the ring (I knew my wife would love the idea!), and he agreed on the condition that I get approval from the president of the company.
Well, during the second Grand Opening I attended in California, I met President and COO Dan Cathy and showed him the ring. He was so tickled, and gave me his approval.
Every Grand Opening has been wonderful. They’ve been a God-send for me, especially as I was struggling with the death of my wife.
John R., St. Petersburg, FL