10 Fast Food Workers Who Redefined Customer Service
With negative articles taking up a good chunk of your news feed these days, even the smallest act of kindness can be big news. These fast food workers took a few minutes out of their days to make someone else’s a little better—and in some cases, a lot better.
1. THE MCDONALD'S WORKER WHO FED A CUSTOMER
Last month, Kenny Soriano-Garcia was manning a cash register at a McDonald’s in Union Station in Chicago when a customer quietly made a request. Not able to fully understand the man right away, Garcia suggested several things before figuring out he had asked for assistance eating his meal. Though it was busy, Garcia shut down his register immediately, then went to wash his hands and don a pair of gloves. Another customer caught Garcia’s act of kindness on camera and posted it on Facebook. The photo and post have since gone viral—and Garcia was recognized by McDonald’s for his above-and-beyond customer service.
2. THE QDOBA EMPLOYEE WHO DID THE SAME THING
Six months earlier and 300 miles away, Qdoba worker Ridge Quarles provided a similar customer service experience. After he helped a disabled customer get utensils and napkins for her meal, Quarles asked if there was anything else he could assist with. There was—she asked if he would mind helping her eat. Without hesitation, Quarles stopped what he was doing to honor the customer’s request. A fellow patron, one Dr. David Jones, was so impressed that he took video of the good deed and shared it online.
3. THE DAIRY QUEEN CASHIER WHO STOOD UP FOR A BLIND CUSTOMER
In 2013, 19-year-old Joey Prusak noticed a blind customer drop $20 on the ground while standing in line to buy ice cream. The woman behind him picked up the bill and put it in her own purse. That’s where Prusak stepped in, asking the woman to return the money to its rightful owner. When she refused, Prusak, a manager at the store, asked the woman to leave. Afterward, he took $20 from his own pocket to reimburse the man. Another customer emailed the store about Prusak’s commendable deed, and eventually, word got back to Warren Buffett himself (Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns Dairy Queen). Buffett called Prusak and personally invited him to be a special guest at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha.
4. THE WENDY'S EMPLOYEE WHO HELPED AN ELDERLY MAN NAVIGATE STORMY WEATHER
This one was a simple deed, but no less thoughtful for it. An anonymous Wendy’s employee saw an elderly man with a walker head outside with no protection from the rain. The employee held one of the restaurant’s patio umbrellas over the man until he reached his car safely.
5. THE HARDEE'S WORKER WHO HELPED A WOMAN TO HER CAR
Similar deed, different fast food chain. Last summer, 17-year-old Kailen Young was cleaning windows at his job at a Knoxville, Tennessee, Hardee’s, when he noticed an elderly lady trying to get to her car. Young stopped what he was doing to help the woman across the parking lot. A man who was pumping his gas across the street snapped the picture and shared it on the Hardee’s Facebook page; in turn, Hardee’s surprised Young with a $1,000 “Good Samaritan” reward.
6. THE KFC TEAM MEMBER WHO UPGRADED A CUSTOMER
It started out like any other transaction at KFC—a customer stepped up to the counter and placed his order with an employee identified only as Ms. Muza. But when he ordered nothing but a single piece of chicken, Muza decided to help. She had noticed the man selling tissue paper on the street nearby and knew he probably couldn’t afford much more out of his own pocket—so she upgraded him to a full meal using her own money. KFC recognized Muza on their Facebook page after another customer shared the incident with the company.
7. THE CHICK-FIL-A MANAGER WHO GAVE FREE FOOD TO STRANDED MOTORISTS
Some businesses might see hundreds of hungry, stranded motorists as the perfect captive audience to boost sales. But in January 2014, Mark Meadows, manager of an Alabama Chick-fil-A, helped his staff cook hundreds of sandwiches to give away to drivers stuck on a nearby highway during a blizzard. The store also invited people inside to warm up and provided free food to everyone who came in.
8. THE DUNKIN' DONUTS EMPLOYEE WHO SAVED A MAN'S LIFE
One minute, Don Pemberton was out for a bike ride in Gilbert, Arizona, as part of his Ironman training. Four days later, he woke up in a local hospital with almost no memory of what had happened to him. Had it not been for the quick thinking of Dunkin’ Donuts employee Hannah Bentley, Pemberton might not have made it at all. Bentley was working when a customer came in to tell her that a man had passed out outside. When she found him unresponsive, the CPR-trained Bentley performed the procedure for five minutes until an ambulance could arrive. Pemberton, who had suffered cardiac arrest, later presented her with a medal from his 101st marathon to say thanks.
9. THE WENDY'S TEAM THAT DELIVERED A BABY
When a customer went into labor at a Fort Wayne, Indiana, Wendy’s, employee Shanetta Stewart didn’t hesitate to help. The customer’s uncle came inside to ask staff to call 911 for his niece, whose water had broken in the parking lot. It quickly became evident that the baby was coming before an ambulance could arrive, so Stewart, a mother of six children, went out to coach the woman through her contractions. By the time paramedics got to the scene, Stewart had helped the woman deliver her baby. Both mom and baby were healthy and recovering well at the hospital later that evening.
10. THE PIZZA HUT EMPLOYEES WHO ALERTED POLICE TO A HOSTAGE SITUATION
Pizza Hut employees in Avon Park, Florida, were processing online orders when they came across something alarming: In the notes field of the order, customer Cheryl Treadway had written, “911hostage help!” They quickly alerted the local police, who were able to get to the house and successfully diffuse the situation. Treadway’s boyfriend, who police believed was high on methamphetamine, had been holding her and her three children hostage with a knife.
BONUS: THE (INCREDIBLY) GENEROUS FAST FOOD CUSTOMER
It’s not always employees doing good deeds for their customers. Last spring, Jeff Smith, a worker at Jack’s in Lawrence County, Tennessee, exited a store to find a man staring at his rundown vehicle, a 1991 Geo Storm with more than 350,000 miles on it. The man asked him how reliable the car was, and Smith said, “It’s about as reliable as it looks.” In response, the man asked Smith to follow him down the road to a small car dealership. The man disappeared inside for a few minutes, then came back out and told Smith that the blue 2001 GMC Sonoma on the lot had been paid in full for him; he could pick it up later that week. Smith wasn’t sure the gift was the real deal until the owner of the dealership showed up at Jack’s several days later with the keys and title to the truck. The man wished to remain anonymous.