She signed for the package and took it inside, surprised by its weight. She carefully slid a key under the packing tape and ripped the box open. But when she rummaged around inside, her hand closed on something soft that definitely wasn’t supposed to be there. Totally blindsided, she turned to social media to let everyone know what the popular fast-food franchise had done.
Lindsey Jones is a teacher from Lorena, Texas. Her story begins on a road trip with her family to Taos, New Mexico. But it was only on the way back that she realized what she’d done. Her traumatic experience would set off the chain of events that took Facebook by storm – and put a big restaurant chain in the spotlight.
After a week in New Mexico with her family, Lindsey was feeling far from rested. With seven hours between her and home, she was starting to feel anxious. Why is it that the long journey back from your holiday destination always seems twice as long? She wondered irritably. With lessons to prepare for Monday’s classes, she knew she still had a lot to do when she got home. To make matters worse, the kids were getting restless.
After three hours on the road, the kids were becoming uncontrollable. Lindsey felt like a stuck record. “Stop hitting your brother!” and “But you just went to the bathroom!” became her mantra. Tired of yelling over her shoulder, Lindsey tried to concentrate on the road. Maybe if she listened to the droning of the car’s tires on the asphalt she could ignore the whining children in the back.
Overtired and cranky, her youngest started to have a meltdown. He was tired of being strapped tightly in the car seat for hours – and who could blame him? He kicked at the back of her seat and wailed. That’s when Lindsey saw the friendly neon sign in the distance and breathed a sigh of relief. Salvation was in sight.
She pulled up to the Chick-Fil-A and the trio got out to stretch their legs. 3-year-old Max and 6-year-old Gabe had fallen silent, happy to finally be out of their prison – the car. Lindsey pulled her enormous bag over her shoulder and took their little hands as they walked into the restaurant. She hadn’t wanted to add more time to her trip, but she realized that this stop was absolutely necessary. But she should have paid more attention.
With the kids happy with their $3 meals, they munched on their chicken nuggets and sipped their sugary drinks. Lindsey finally felt herself start to relax. That should hold them over for a few hours, she thought. She’d deal with the fallout of the sugar rush when they got home. Packing them all back into the car, she began to barrel homeward once more, not knowing that she’d just made a monumental mistake.
She was about 15 minutes away from home when she realized that she was running low on gas. Then, a sinking feeling washed over her slowly as she pulled over. One glance at the passenger seat and her worst fears were confirmed. What Lindsey thought was going to be a relaxing and much-needed vacation was shaping up to be a disaster.
When she realized that she had left her bag at the restaurant in Lubbock, about 360 miles back, she yelled in dismay. All her bank cards, ID, cash, medication – they were all in her handbag. And how would she fill up with gas? Panic and anxiety began to rise and her heart leaped into her throat. What else could possibly go wrong?
With no cash on her, wailing children, and nerves wearing dangerously thin, she contemplated what to do next. She didn’t have the strength to travel back the 300 miles — and now she didn’t have the gas, either. She made a mental list of what was in her handbag when she had stopped at the restaurant. Then came the realization that made her blood run cold.
She had left her keys to her classroom inside the handbag. How was she going to open up on Monday? And to make matters worse, it was the first day of the new term. She felt like a failure as she put her head in her hands. She felt like she was indeed failing at life. Then, she remembered something…
It was a glimmer of hope, but it was there nonetheless. She remembered handing her cellphone to her youngest to keep him occupied with a game of Candy Crush at some point during their trip. She racked her travel-addled brain and triumphantly seized the memory. Leaning back in the driver’s seat, she rummaged around on the floor of the car.
Panicked and frantic, Lindsey searched the glove compartment and pockets until she found it. Thankfully, she had taken it out her handbag before they had stopped! She Google searched until she found the number, then dialed the Chick-Fil-A in Lubbock to see if they had found her bag. But what were the chances that someone had picked it up?
“I was working drive-thru and heard the phone ring, and she was kind of frantic saying she was like three hours away and she left her purse here,” said Darcey Cuellar, director of hospitality. He empathized with Lindsey’s situation but knew it would be difficult to get her purse back to her before she returned to work on Monday.
With the call made and resigning herself to the fact that there wasn’t much she could do, Lindsey hoped that the gas station accepted Snapscan. At least then she could fill up and pay via her cellphone. Then, she’d make the long trip all the way back to Lubbock to retrieve her handbag. She couldn’t believe her luck. Then, a little voice inside her told her to try again.
Lindsey called again and asked to speak with the director of operations. And this is when things took an unexpected turn. Lindsey begins her sensational Facebook post with: “As my family and I traveled back to Lorena from Taos, NM, we stopped at this Chick-fil-a restaurant to grab lunch. Approximately THREE hours later when we stopped for gas in Abilene, I realized I must have left my purse back in Lubbock at Chick-fil-a…”
Lindsey continues: “I called and spoke to a very nice woman named Darcy who assured me that they had my purse and would ship it to me right away. After thinking about all the very important things in my purse that I would need ASAP, I called back and spoke to a manager named Casey.”
“He was incredibly helpful and understanding. He took my purse to FedEx and had it shipped to me “Priority Overnight”. With it being a Saturday delivery, and being that I carry a pretty large handbag that weighed 7 lbs, you can imagine it was NOT a cheap shipment!” But Lindsay’s surprises were far from over.
“When I called to give him a FedEx account number to use to pay for it, he told me not to worry about it because it was already taken care of! I was blown away by the kindness and generosity shown to me by the staff at Chick-fil-a on 4th & Frankford in Lubbock.” But when Lindsey received the parcel, it was much heavier than expected.
Lindsey was relieved to find her bag inside the box and immediately searched through it to make sure all her belongings were intact. She was floored to find that the cash and her cards were all still there. But there were some other items inside the box that definitely weren’t meant to be there.
Lindsey pulled out 6 meal coupons, as well as two plush cows! “I woke up this morning to a knock on the door from the FedEx guy with a big box containing not only my purse, but 6 coupons/gift cards for free food at Chick-fil-a, and a couple of plush cows saying “EAT MOR CHIKIN,” she wrote.
Lindsey’s post continued: “I cannot thank them enough for everything they did to help me get my purse back as quickly as possible! This situation completely restored my faith in humanity!” And soon, Lindsey’s Facebook had exploded with likes and comments. People couldn’t believe that the restaurant chain had gone above and beyond to help one of their customers.
Linsey concluded with: “Not only was my purse found by good, honest people, but they also went above and beyond to help fix a problem that was 1000% my fault to begin with! So, thank you, thank you, thank you, Darcy & Casey, for being so awesome!” But what did other Facebook users think?
It was an amazing P.R. move on the company’s part, and soon the chain was receiving praise from all over the world. “That is awesome! One more reason to love Chick-fil-a more,” wrote one Facebook user. But Kovar, the director of the branch, brushed off the praise, saying: “Just by sharing a smile. That’s where it starts. If you can share a smile with someone, it can really uplift their day.”