When traffic around a Covid-19 vaccination site became congested last week, a South Carolina mayor recruited emergency backup: the manager of the local Chick-fil-A.
Seacoast Church in Mt. Pleasant, S.C, was the site of a drive-thru vaccine clinic on Jan. 22 that administered hundreds of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The vaccination site was so popular with local residents that Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie phoned Chick-fil-A manager Jerry Walkowiak for assistance. Chick-fil-A is well-known for its ability to quickly handle a tsunami of cars. A 2019 survey placed Chick-fil-A No. 1 in drive-thru order accuracy and customer service.
“When you need help, call the pros,” Haynie tweeted.
“Chic Fil A to the rescue!” he wrote in a separate tweet.
Chic Fil A manager Jerry Walkowiak donating his professional drive thru experience to help our vaccination program in Mt Pleasant today. When you need help, call the pros. pic.twitter.com/63RvcVR8KJ— Will Haynie (@willhaynie) January 22, 2021
Haynie told Fox 11 he called Walkowiak after being told there was too much traffic at the site.
“I called him [Walkowiak] on my way over and he actually got there before I did,” Haynie told Fox 11. “He was standing there. He was moving people along.”
The wait time, Haynie said, decreased from one hour to 15 minutes with Walkowiak working at the site. Walkowiak stood under an umbrella in the rain, directing cars to the correct site and ensuring drivers had the proper paperwork, Fox 11 reported.
More than 1,000 doses were administered at the site. Those who received it will need to return Feb. 12 for a second dose.
“This is what light at the end of the tunnel, this long dark Covid-19 tunnel looks like,” Haynie told local station WCBD. “... We are ready for this vaccine, we are ready to turn the corner in this long hard slog that we have been having against this virus. We’re ready to get life back to normal.”
Patrick Cawley, a medical doctor and the CEO of MUSC Health, said the “way out of” the pandemic is for local communities to rally around vaccination programs.
“A third want to be vaccinated right away, a third want to wait four to six weeks and then a third are saying not right now, so we’re seeing this rush,” Cawley said.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Tom Pennington/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.