or not, they say I wasn't the first deaf-blind person to
participate in such an event. It's hard for me to imagine that
there are others like me out there who are crazy enough to try
this kind of thing. It sure was a lot of fun, though.
On Tuesday, I put JD to bed at 8:00 pm. I was in bed shortly
after him. That's a little early for both of us but I knew we
wouldn't be getting much sleep in the days to come.
Our adventure began when my alarm clock went off at 3:30 am. I
was feeling absolutely brain dead while I got dressed and woke
JD up. He was so excited that he bounced out of bed with
unlimited energy. Kids are amazing that way.
We got our things together. My friend Amy picked us up at 4:30.
She's a fellow ASL student. She's older like me and has four
kids, including a son who is JD's age. She invited me and
several of her other friends to do this event. It was my first
time at a grand opening, but her 7th.
We got to the new Chick Fil-A around 5:45. You have to be there
before 6:00. A few people came late but they were allowed to
join the line. The crowd boo-ed about that.
The rules are simple. You must spend 24 hours at the Chick
Fil-A parking lot to celebrate their grand opening. You aren't
allowed to leave. You even have to sleep there.
Every eligible adult was given a raffle ticket. Once
registration was finished, they began picking tickets. The first
100 people would win the prize - but only if they made it through
the whole 24 hours.
My ticket was the 30th one they picked. Everything was done by
number so I became known as #30 for the day. JD was #30's under
age guest. They put arm bands on everyone to keep track of the
For attendance checks and meals, they had us grouped by
numbers. Each group had a funny name. My group was known as
"The Biscuit Nuggeteers.
There were tons of people there. 100 adults were chosen for the
prize. 10 others were put on a second list to be bumped up if
anyone dropped out. There were others, like Amy, who were not
eligible because they were related to Chick Fil-A employees.
And then there were kids - lots and lots of kids.
We set up camp after chick-in. Amy brought a 12 person tent. JD
and I got our own section of the tent. There were others in
our group who stayed in Amy's tent or else set up their own tents
Try to imagine the sight. There must have been 65 tents set up
all around the restaurant. We were actually in the parking lot -
We hung out in camp and lawn chairs. It really was like
camping, except that we were on asphalt instead of grass or dirt.
Chick-Fil-A provided all meals for free. Naturally, we ate a
lot of chicken.
First came breakfast. Fried chicken on biscuits. I put honey
on mine. JD loved his and even got a second one.
Lunch was chicken sandwiches with pickles. I thought it was good
but I was beginning to have stomach issues by that point. I
think it was from the tea. That tea was good but strange. It
got to the point where I couldn't even swallow it and had to
switch to water. By then my head was spinning and my stomach
I tried to take a nap after lunch but it was too hot in the tent.
Amy had all the kids lay down for a rest, too. JD joined me in
our section but he was too keyed up to sleep.
When I finally sat back up, my stomach gave a giant lurch and I
almost got sick. Amy noticed and found some Tums for me to
take. I felt much better after that.
So what did we do all day? Sit around and chatted. Amy could
sign to me and she interpreted for others. I also used my DBC to
talk with people and met all of her friends. Twice during the
day, I had to give my Braille Note to the staff to take inside
and charge for me. They were really nice about it.
We played "catch phrases." Amy would fingerspell the word to me
and I'd have to describe it to the group. One time JD got the
word "nitroglycerin." As if he even knows what that is... so we
let him pick another word.
We also played People Bingo. There were many crazy games like
an eating contest and trying to put on frozen clothing. It
sounds nuts but people were having so much fun. I didn't do
much of that stuff.
The kids had a blast. They played chase, raced in wagons and
watched a movie in the tent. They had an official water balloon
toss. They played with ice, water and sprinklers. JD was soaked
most of the day. The boys were running around without shirts on.
He told me that kids were trying to pour ice down his shirt so
he took it off for protection. At least he found a way to keep
A local restaurant sent over chocolate chip cookies. We also had
our own snacks and drinks. There was no shortage on food.
Dinner was another chicken sandwich, french fries and a brownie.
I could not bear to eat more chicken so I just had the fries and
dessert. JD ate his chicken, of course.
A DJ named Billy J started the big party after dinner. He
played all the hits and classic party songs. I sat and chatted
with Amy while JD ran around with the other kids. He danced to
most of the songs. It's hard for me to imagine him doing the
chicken dance or in the conga line. We even have a video of him
doing the electric slide. He had a great time.
The cow showed up in the middle of the party. The famous Chick
Fil-A cow carries a sign that says "Eat Mor Chickin." Of course,
the cow led the dancing.
They served chicken nuggets for a snack. JD had some. I did
The party continued. The music boomed. They played more games.
This included a "pass the hula hoop" game. JD enjoyed that one.
Later, the cow put on pajamas. All the kids were given little
stuffed cow toys. Apparently they have different versions and
you can collect your own stuffed cows. There's even a special
edition Santa cow.
At 10:00, we all went into the restaurant for ice cream. You
could pick your own toppings. I got sprinkles and whipped cream.
JD got chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles, nerds, oreo's,
whipped cream and gummy worms. I don't know how he could eat
such a big sundae after all that chicken.
Dan Cathy, the Chick-Fil-A owner talked to customers during the
ice cream social. He seems like a pretty cool guy. He played
the trumpet, too. It was a good talk but by that time, I was
soooo tired. I just wanted to crawl into my sleeping bag.
They finally stopped the music and activities at 11:00. JD and
I were both so worn out that we didn't even mind how hard the
parking lot was under our sleeping bags. I fell asleep
immediately and didn't stir until Amy woke me up at 5:00.
We went to the restaurant for the final celebration. I got a
free Chick-Fil-A t-shirt. The crowd cheered as the winners were
checked and awarded the box with 52 Chick Fil-A coupons. That's
over $100 worth in free food. Not bad for a deaf-blind gal.
We packed up our gear and finally left. I got home at 7:30. I
had to fight JD to get him in bed for a nap. After cleaning up
and changing into pajamas, I got into bed, too. We both slept
until 2:00 pm.
It's over with and now I can't believe I did it. Crazy event.
What was I even thinking? Yet I had so much fun. It was
different. It was a chance to get out, do something new and
socialize. I don't get to do that very often. But one thing's
for sure - I don't want anymore chicken!
PS - Guess what we pulled out of the puppy's mouth yesterday
evening? You got it! My entire box of Chick Fil-A coupons.
Luckily, he didn't do any damage. I guess he wanted some