At 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, approximately 150 people gathered and shivered, outside of Chick-fil-A’s new restaurant, 3214 S.E. Military Drive, for the “First 100 Fans” promotion, a chance to win a booklet of 52 free combo meal coupons.
Here’s the rub: In order to win the golden nest egg, fans had to camp on the premises, a shantytown of chicken lovers, until 6:30 a.m. the next day.
The flock — folks of all ages and vocations — came prepared, wrapped in fleece or feather down blankets, with thermal sleeping bags as the incubating outer shell. Some brave devotees slept on blankets layered on the asphalt, tentless, in the wide-open cold, testing how many times a blanket can be wrapped around a body to cover an exposed finger or toe. A few huddled around televisions that were connected to generators, while some read newspapers, magazines, or books to distract themselves from the cold.
In the wee hours, when the frigid temperatures crept in, campers ignored knocking knees and chattering teeth, and let visions of chick-n-strips and waffle fries carry them through to dawn’s first light, when they would, no doubt, be up with the chickens.