Honking horns, bags of delicious chicken sandwiches and lots of smiles.
That was the scene Thursday afternoon at Mountain View High School in Orem, as well as at other school locations this week as teachers and other employees of Alpine School District got to enjoy a special treat from Chick-fil-A.
The fast food giant donated a total of 5,000 sandwiches to local schools this week, approximately 1,900 of which were passed out on Thursday.
“Chick-fil-A already does so much for education,” Mountain View principal Mike Ericksen said. “This was a cherry on top. I was really excited when I heard they would be doing this. It was a great chance to see everyone.”
The Alpine School District let school employees know about the donation, then had them drive into the parking lot and receive their sandwiches in their cars from volunteers and administrators like Ericksen. They then were “required” to honk their horns as they left as a sign of appreciation.
One family had drawn a “Thank you, Chick-fil-A!” sign on a whiteboard, while another driver grinned and said, “I’m just so glad I don’t have to come up with something to make for dinner tonight!”
Ericksen said that during this time of social distancing and schools closing as part of efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, just getting a chance to see colleagues as they came through the line was valuable.
“With most of what is being done being done online, it’s just great to see a lot of them in person,” Ericksen said. “I miss the social interactions. Many of these people I haven’t seen in a week-and-a-half, so it’s good to see them and make sure they are doing well.”
He said he has been impressed with how the teachers have approached the current challenges.
“The mentality is to always be learning,” Ericksen said. “This is brand-new for many of them. Some had online programs but most have had to learn a new platform. They’ve come at it with energy, enthusiasm and caring that has been awesome.”
Chick-fil-A issued the following statement about the steps the company is taking to support local communities:
“We are proud of our restaurant teams across the country and grateful for all they are doing to support their local communities during this unprecedented time. Our operators and team members are the heart of our business, and the stories of them helping our healthcare workers, first responders and school districts are heartwarming reminders of the important impact they have outside of their restaurants.”
While the generosity of Chick-fil-A certainly brightened the days of many Alpine School District employees this week, it also made a big difference to one of the local franchises.
Hunter Pierce has worked for Chick-fil-A for five years and is the director of catering for the Chick-fil-A located in University Mall, a store that has been hit hard by limits on gathering.
“Since we don’t have a drive-thru like many stores, our business dropped by thousands of dollars per day,” Pierce said. “It was really a struggle to keep busy. Corporate then began placing these donations as catering orders, and it’s made a big difference for us.”
He said the reaction for many of the employees was relief and excitement to be busy again.
“They were super-happy to be working and have the hours,” Pierce said. “We’ll take what we can get. I’m grateful that Chick-fil-A is a company that cares so much about its employees and the community.”
He said the store does do curbside delivery and is working coming up with a drive-thru option, but he is glad to have these large orders to work on.
“We did thousands yesterday, more today, more tomorrow and I think we are doing more next week as well,” Pierce said.