Americans love camping. So much so — in fact — that in 2013 they spent a total of about 516.6 million days doing so. Americans also love Chik-fil-A. In 2011, the fast food chain reportedly sold a staggering nine sandwiches per second.
So when the fast food chain offered a free meal per week for a year to some lucky contest winners, people naturally lined up from all over the country and camped out at the participating restaurants.
“Before there were people coming from Illinois, there were people coming from Alabama and they would travel for a few weeks going from state to state, and that’s the reason why before I didn’t get in,” Stephanie Robertson, who had previously attempted attending a Chik-fil-A opening, told WSB-TV. She was turned away when there were 200 others in front of her. “But I’m glad that they changed the rules because really what you’re doing is you’re supporting your own community.”
More than a couple dozen people have been camping out in the Chik-fil-A parking lot in Dunwoody, Georgia in the hopes of winning the weekly free meal for a year. Some were even working remotely from their “campsites.”
“Our bosses know we’re here,” said Shelby Dillon. “We’re Skyping into a meeting at 1:30 this afternoon, so we’re making it work.”
If all of their efforts paid off, the first 100 people in line when the location officially opened on September 2 would receive a digital offer card loaded with 52 free Chik-fil-A #1 meals.
Doug Miller had done this exact thing before — 22 times, in fact. He claims to have traveled as far away as Kentucky and South Florida to go to Chik-fil-A competitions, but not this time; he was able to wait it out at a semi-local restaurant.
The grand openings have drawn such crowds that Chik-fil-A actually had to revise its rules so that only those people living within a specific radius of the new location could be eligible for the giveaway.
Fortunately for Miller, his home fell just within the new location’s cut-off.