I always knew I wanted to write an ode/thank you to a special place where I spent two years of my life at, before I actually left to take my journey elsewhere. I would always tear up at the fact that I’m leaving a place that I hold so near to my heart and people who I love so dearly. I always knew this day would come but wow, it came so soon. So, here’s a thank you/reflection/ode to North Myrtle and everyone at Chick-fil-a.
Moving down to a city where you were four hours away from all of your friends and family, starting the college journey, and living on your own is how I began my middle of August in 2014. Shortly after I got settled in, my parents and I took a day to job-search. I went everywhere– from hotels, restaurants, reality companies, retail stores, Starbucks, and then Chick-fil-a. It was nearing towards the end of our long, stressful day when I decided to check out Starbucks to see if they were hiring. They were but it just didn’t feel like my place to be at, ya know? So, pulling out of the parking lot, about to take a left to give up and go home; we saw Chick-fil-a and considered going there. I thought, “Yeah I love Chick-fil-a, and they’re a Christian company so sure!” We went straight across that intersection, I walked into Chick-fil-a, and my life was changed from then on.
From starting my first real job on August 15th, I was a little nervous yet excited. I walked into a community of Christ followers and people who are so loving and welcoming, that it quickly turned into my favorite place to be. I loved my job, I loved serving others and making CFA a remarkable place for guests to enjoy, I loved the guests (especially our regular ones!), and I loved all of the people I worked with. Chick-fil-a and I shared the same morals and values and that is also what made that job meaningful to me. Within my two years there, I learned a lot, grew as a person, and made life-long friends.
From the beginning, I was blessed to be able to look up to awesome directors as mentors and role models. By majoring in Business Management and having a concentration in Human Resources, my job taught me a lot about management and interacting with people. All of the directors handled themselves with confidence, sincerity, and concern for their guests. The amount of support they continuously showed everyone on the team was so admirable. Each director truly lived out the meaning of what it means to be a leader. They portrayed the importance of treating others with Christ-like love no matter who that person was. They also showed me how to handle a guest complaint with true concern and wanting to accommodate them in the correct manner. I learned how to be a leader in the workforce and in everyday situations. Since we all had a lot of fun together while working; they taught me that it was possible to not just do your job, but to have fun while you’re doing it. All of the directors showed me the love of Jesus. Lastly, they gave me a lifetime of skills within just two years. Thank you guys so much for that.
Also during my time at CFA, I grew as a person. I grew in so many ways that I’m beyond thankful for the experiences and people who taught me these things. From having Bible studies with everyone, to just hanging out, to conversations and situations during work… I have been so impacted. I learned how to challenge myself while balancing college full-time, working part-time, and having time to be with friends. I took steps out of my comfort zone to try new things. My relationship with Christ has grown so much throughout these couple of years from the influence of such Godly friends. I learned how important it is to trust God with everything and that He always restores your soul. I learned how to fully live a Christ-like life not only during work days, but also during everyday life. So, thank you Lord for blessing me with the experiences and opportunities that stretched me as a person and made me grow.
As said earlier, I was blessed with friends who I hold close to my heart. During my first couple of months I remember every one being encouraging, genuine, welcoming, and loving. These people who invested so much time in me, quickly became some of my closest friends. Every time I walked into a shift I was always greeted with a “Hey Tor,” a hug, and a huge smile. It is also so great to have people there for you who truly care and just do life with you. The great thing about CFA is the community within it. From living here in North Myrtle for the past couple of years, I also learned the importance of surrounding yourself with good company. All of these friends poured so much joy into my life, helpful advice, and unconditional love. Having such a good community of people who are like family around me was comforting to have. We were there for each other, always kept each other laughing, grew in so many ways with one another, and share lots of fun memories together. So, thank you for everything you guys.
Another thing CFA does every summer is letting Cru (Campus Crusaders) from the mid-west, come in and work for the summer while they are on their summer mission. From being able to experience two summers of some really great people with awesome accents come and be a part of our team; also had a huge impact on me. Before my first summer with Cru, I heard everyone talk about how amazing Cru is and get so hyped up about them coming. I remember the first week that they arrived and how much love they shared. Not only are they some of the most fun people, but also the most devoted. They were really inspiring and made me want to join Cru whenever I got to a university. So, whenever our Cru members came this summer… I was one of those telling everyone who hadn’t experienced a Cru summer yet, just how amazing they are and getting so excited for them to come. As always, they continued to bring tons of love with them. The community that they all have is centered on Christ, loving others, and a strong sister/brother bond. Getting to know each of them personally just by conversations at work, on breaks, or hangouts outside of work was such a pleasure. The amount of encouragement they give, genuine love they have, and their desire to just be like Jesus is SO incredible. Spending a whole summer with them is great, but the team is always sad when they have to go home! The mark you guys leave on our hearts is huge and it is nice to look back on memories we all shared together. So, to all of the Cru members: thank you for impacting my life, being such great examples of Christ, all of the laughs, many hugs, loving us southerners so well, speaking life into us and others, and your hearts for God. You guys are the greatest, love you all!
Making the choice to cross that intersection was one of the greatest things ever, because CFA has truly blessed me with people who I will always have a lot of love for. It is interesting how God will take you down different paths of life to shape and mold you into the person He created you to be. He also places people in your life who help you out along the way. The choices we make in life is so significant to the plan He has for us and to become more and more like Him. God also continues to guide us where we need to be to reach people, learn things, and fulfill our purpose. All of these people have truly impacted my heart and I will forever be changed by their kindness and love that they have always shown me. There are so many memories and laughs that I will take with me, and I’m looking forward to many more with you guys. Thank you to every single one of you. Y’all are THE best. I love y’all so much!