Every Chickfila Needs a Ms Jane



I’ll admit it. We eat at Chickfila way. too. much, Although there are many to pick from, I typically go to the same location. With three small children, I aim for the closest parking space, and sit in the same booth. We order the same thing and I count on the smile of one person to make our visit a little brighter.

I can’t be sure the first time I saw her but I remember vividly the day I truly met her. I was sitting in a booth at Chickila with my oldest son: Dominic. He wasn’t feeling well and we were waiting for a return call from the pediatrician to schedule an appointment. We were mesmerized by the flowers as they reminded us of our current favorite book of the same name: Chrysanthemum! As we talked, a lovely lady who works at CFA approached. She noticed our interest in the flowers and we explained that they were the same flowers as in the book we had been reading all week. As we talked, the lady commented that Dom did not look himself and asked about our other two children. I explained that we were waiting on a phone call from the doctor. She was truly sympathetic. Dom asked her name and so began our friendship with Ms.Jane.

That he is a natural encourager

A week later, we saw Ms Jane again. She commented that Dom was looking better and asked what we had found out at the doctor. I was surprised that she remembered but also thankful for her concern.

Flash forward a few months to a day where I had an exceptionally rough morning with my children. It was after nine and we still hadn’t eaten breakfast. I made it through the doors of Chickfila with my children ages 4,2 and 6 months. I pushed the newborn in the stroller while praying the other two would follow my instructions. We ordered our food and I collapsed in our regular booth facing the playland. I was so very tired and trying to keep all three kids happy seemed a daunting task. Before I knew it we were late for my women’s bible study and I had not eaten at all. I frantically worked on getting everyone out the door only to spill coffee on the stroller and on the floor. I felt so defeated but then Ms.Jane came to the rescue to help. A small gesture with a big impact. “I got it honey” is what she said.

On a particularly stressful day, at Chickfila {again}, my daughter decided that she’d rather stay at the top of the playland than come home and take a nap. After countless attempts of love and logic, idle threats and pleas, I left my 9 month old at the base of the playland with my almost 5 year old to climb the playland that I am way too big to be climbing to retrieve my stubborn 2 ½ year old. She was not happy. I strapped her into the stroller, put my baby on my hip and as I reached for my 5 year old’s hand, cringed at his words, “Mommy, I’m really thirsty.” We exited the playland only to happen upon the busy-ness of the lunch crowd. The line was literally snaking right back to the playland door. I tried to deflect his request with a promise of water when we got home. The humiliation of the playland, the sleep deprivation, the stubborn two year old, the 5 year old’s request for water, the anxiety-inducing crowd. It was all a little much for me. Somehow Ms Jane heard my son’s request, and even in the midst of a very busy time, took the time to bring my son a cup of water. My overwhelmed mind and discouraged heart was so thankful.

Over and over Ms Jane has been the smile or placemat or drink refill or presence that this tired and overwhelmed momma so desperately needed.

I know service with kindness and a smile is the Chickfila way, but Ms Jane does more. She’ll never fully know the impact her kindness has had on me. My children call her by name. She is always so thrilled to see us and in inkind calls her chickfila grandbabies by name.

My children are now a little older and I’m getting better sleep at night as a result. Taking them out into public on my own is not so scary anymore.

When we go to Chickfila, however, I still aim for the closest parking spot and I often strap at least one child in the stroller while carrying another. And I always feel so much better about my adventure when Ms Jane is there. She is not my mom but when I’m at CFA I feel like she looks out for me like my mom would and for a moment taking three high energy kids out to eat by myself is not so bad. Not if Ms. Jane is around.

Patty Parker

My name is Patty Parker. I write about finding beauty in the every day.

3 thoughts on “Every Chickfila Needs a Ms Jane

  1. Wow! How lovely that such a thoughtful and caring woman was placed in your path when you needed it the most!

    Trying to care for three small children at once can be tough, but glad to hear that with time you have found a way to take them out with out much trouble.
    Hugs to you.
    – Sophie Areli

    1. Thank you Sophie! We have 3 or 4 Chickfila’s that are relatively close to our house but I will always go there if I know Mrs Jane will be there. I, too, am thankful she has been there for us!

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