May 25th started out like any other Friday for Chick-fil-A Team Member Jean Barrow. The local franchise Operator Sean McClure picked her up, just as he always does, before her shift. Jean has served as a hostess for nearly two decades and on every shift, she walks around the restaurant’s dining room for three hours, starting conversations by sharing a simple joke or a kind word.
James Knottek’s birthday gift lasted just a few seconds, but it’s one he will remember for the rest of his life. On a day like most, Knottek walked into work at his local Chick-fil-A restaurant. His first task was straightforward: keep the kitchen in tip-top shape so the restaurant could serve its more than 1,300 daily customers with ease (his co-workers affectionately call him “Captain America Cleaner”). But when Knottek’s manager asked him stop what he was doing so he could show him something in the back, he knew something was up.