What’s so moving about this story—a Chick-fil-A worker volunteering to reroute a vaccination clinic’s long lines, shortening them by hours—isn’t just the collaboration. It’s not just the ingenuity. It’s what the volunteer reveals about how “good news” is calibrated in 2021. It shouldn’t have come to this. No drive-thru worker should have to spring into action to rescue a preventably slow, mismanaged medical distribution at the national level. Yet here we are.
“The computer system handling registrations went down, causing hundreds of people to wait in heavy traffic. That’s when Jerry Walkowiak, the manager of a nearby Chick-fil-A, stepped in to save the day,” reported Alaa Elassar of CNN. A Recharge salute to the South Carolina worker. But this story asks us to take cheer in the surprise that vaccination lines were not excessively long. As if the rollout’s missteps are so normalized and business as usual that delays are the metric against which good is measured. And so it is.
Yes, we can celebrate this story and still have enough bitter aftertaste to keep criticizing the rollout and Chick-fil-A at the same time. Are the sandwiches even good? They’re fine. Don’t get me started on the chain’s long-documented executive opposition to human rights. Recall the story of its founding family’s record against marriage equality?
Back to our cheery Recharge selves tomorrow. If you haven’t yet, drop a line to my colleague Inae Oh at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her what’s been keeping you afloat. “I’ll basically try anything to keep the cynicism at bay,” she wrote in last week’s callout. Your emails, readers, are giving us strength.