Arts & Culture

At One Vaccination Site, Chick-fil-A Got the Line Moving

Restaurant manager uses his drive-through expertise to reduce the wait in South Carolina

Anyone with a weakness for a chicken sandwich knows that pulling up to a Chick-fil-A drive-in at noon on a weekday is a study in preparation: Better have your order ready lest you be the glitch in a well-oiled system that hands you your order quick-smart (their pleasure). Perfectly understandable, then, that Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Mayor Will Haynie’s first thought when he needed organization in a crisis was to call a Chick-fil-A general manager. 

Last Friday, the computer crashed at a COVID-19 vaccine site in Mount Pleasant, causing hour-long waits for some 1,000 people waiting to get inoculated. “Right at the start, the registration system went down,” Haynie told Fox News. “We don’t know what happened…Murphy’s law.” Haynie wasted little time in calling local Chick-fil-A manager Jerry Walkowiak, who wasted even less time, and beat Haynie to the site. 

Walkowiak soon had the wait reduced to fifteen minutes. “What Jerry did,” Haynie said, “is he helped us go from a medical-type mindset where you pull up and speak to one person, to a retail mindset where you figure out how to get as many cars through the first entrance as you can.” Haynie’s post of Walkowiak standing out in the rain, umbrella in hand, directing traffic and talking to patients, went viral. 

“This was Jerry helping out his community when it mattered most,” said Haynie, who will keep Walkowiak’s methods in mind for future vaccine rollouts. It’s probably too much to hope that operations will just shift to Chick-fil-A entirely, so we could all get a COVID vaccine along with our eight-count and fries.

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