To be honest, writing this letter to you is rather daunting. How do I put into words all that you mean to me? It’s more than just your delicious, delicious chicken. It’s more than the buttery biscuits (or heavenly yeast rolls of the Chick-n-Minis, when I am feeling especially indulgent), the fresh salads, or the only dairy product that is worth testing my lactose intolerance: the so-good-it-deserves-its-own-name Icedream® cone. Yes, who you are is so much deeper than that.
You have to know how beautiful you are. I bet you hear it all the time! You’re the cleanest fast-food restaurant in existence, and cleaner than most traditional casual dining restaurants as well. I know this because I have seen it first-hand. Oh sure, you’re sweeping the floors and wiping down tables, and all your employees’ shirts appear miraculously spill-free. (I know this to be a true miracle because of my years working in restaurants.) You also provide the cleanest play area I have ever seen. Yeah, I’m in on your little beauty secret, and who cares if you spend a little extra to indulge on quality cleaners? I certainly don’t fault you for that. I watched that man climb through the entire play structure, scaling the outside like Spider-Man, cleaning and sanitizing every.single.inch of the place. Sometimes your appearance is just worth a little investment. And I can tell, Chick-fil-A. Whatever you’re doing is working. *triple snap*
It’s not just the contracted playground cleaners who are going above and beyond, either. From the 15-year-old kid with his first job to the sweet old lady working part time post-retirement to the kind store manager who treats his job like a calling, every helpful smile and “my pleasure” makes me feel warm inside. I mean, I’m already all warm inside from your yummy-and-socially-conscious, Farmer-Direct THRIVE coffee, but your kindness warms my very soul. When I was a new stay-at-home mommy with three kids aged three and under, I came to Chick-fil-A on the regular just to break up the monotony of at-home life with littles. You cared for me like family. You had one employee holding the door for me, another making silly faces at my kids while I ordered, then someone else helped me get all the kids to the table. They laid out placemats for the kids, went to get straws and forks and napkins for everyone, came back to check on us more often than others because they knew how hard it would be for me to get up to ask for help. You were more than a restaurant to me in those days, Chick-fil-A. You were my friend. You’re even adding mom valet so that others can experience your goodness too. And for that, I love you.
I mean that, Chick-fil-A. I really love you. You’re so giving and selfless. We all know how you love to give, and that 2014 snowpocolypse story made national headlines, but it’s personal to me. I haven’t forgotten the time I came to the drive-thru window and realized I had left my wallet at Walmart. You didn’t pull a McDonald’s by shrugging and closing the window. No, you told me to wait just a moment and pulled a manager over to comp my meal. I came back after I picked up my wallet to pay for my meal, but instead you had me start a chain of paying it forward by paying for the customer behind me. But really you started it. You started it, Chick-fil-A.
And then of course there was the time – yes, that time – when I was there with my three kids three and under, standing at the register with an baby in the car seat, a toddler on my hip, and a preschooler at my knees, and no, I didn’t lose my debit card, but in my crazed, sleep-deprived mommy stupor, I had over-drafted my account. You saw the shock and embarrassment on my face when I realized what had happened. With all these people around me, you knew how humiliating it would be to load all my kids back up and walk out empty-handed, so you thought quickly and made me the 100th customer. I don’t know how close I was to actually being #100 – maybe 99, maybe 65, I’ll never know – but you did what you could for me. I can’t ever thank you enough for that moment.
We’ve been through some tough times, Chick-fil-A, but we’ve made it through. There was the time you raised the prices for your premium sides, leaving me $1.20 poorer when I get a side salad instead of fries, but hey, I understand. Healthy food is expensive. We reached an understanding, and really, your food is totally worth it. Then there was the time you quit selling the chocolate fudge brownie… Okay, not gonna lie, this one is still a little tender. But you know what, you are worth more to me than any dessert ever will be. I mean, you brought us the giant, warm, chocolate chunk cookie, and you kept the Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake long past its season was scheduled to end, so we’ll just let it be. Water under the bridge, Chick-fil-A. Water under the bridge.
I must confess, I still get butterflies whenever I see you. Whether it’s another play date at my favorite local establishment or seeing that Road Trip Beacon of Hope that is your logo on an interstate exit sign, my eyes light up, my heart flutters, and my mouth definitely starts salivating, because Chick-fil-A, you are the best there is. I will always choose you over Zaxby’s, Popeye’s, and Bojangles’. There is just no comparison, my love. Honestly, I would choose you over Applebee’s and O’Charley’s and any other possessively named restaurants that feign superiority over my beloved Chick-fil-A. Wherever you are, dear friend, there I will be.
Our love is the stuff of poetry, Chick-fil-A. Elizabeth Barrett Browning must have had visions of you when she wrote, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight / For the ends of Being and ideal Grace…” This letter could go on, but alas, it is lunch time, and your Grilled Market Salad with Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing is the perfect guilt-free fix of all I love about YOU. Until next time, Chick-fil-A… Which will probably be tomorrow. Or maybe even dinner tonight. You know me.
All My Love,