When a COVID-19 vaccination clinic got backed up, a Chick-Fil-A manager stepped in to save the day

shot of long line of cars outside of chik fil a
Photo: Jeff Greenberg / Contributor (Getty Images)

A drive-thru coronavirus vaccine clinic at a church in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, got backed up on January 22, leaving people waiting for a long time—up to hours. This clinic was the first COVID-19 vaccination site in the area, but shortly after it started accepting patients, the computer system taking care of registrations took a dump, causing a big traffic jam.

And so Will Haynie, the mayor of Mount Pleasant decided to call in the big gun: Jerry Walkowiak, manager of the local Chick-fil-A, who knows a thing or two about how to manage a drive-thru. Walkowiak stepped in, and like a goddamn champion, saved the day.

“I called Jerry and asked if he would come help us out,” Haynie told CNN. “After he looked it over, he said, ‘There’s your problem right there. It’s backed up because you have one person checking people in.’ Then he showed us how to do it right.” All it took was a few extra volunteers and Walkowiak’s wrangling, and the clusterfuck was transformed into a seamless operation. The wait dwindled from hours to just 15 minutes. That’s the smell of sweet success and vaccination. Walkowiak should probably have a theme song playing as he walks through any door.

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When patients return for their follow-up shots on February 12, Walkowiak will be there to make sure all goes well.

“Jerry got a phone call and dropped everything because he knows getting this vaccine out is a game changer,” Haynie told News2 Charleston. “This is what the light at the end of the long Covid tunnel looks like.”

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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DISCUSSION

My big question/concern is that everyone watched the line get backed up, stood around, then called a Chick Fil A manager who told them “you know, more people checking everyone in makes it move faster”.

Not that the CFA manager wasn’t doing a service, but seriously, no one looked at the system and thought “hmm...nope, the bottleneck can’t possibly be where only one person is processing everyone. Must be something else.”