WINTER GARDEN If you asked Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy what his business was about — besides eating more chicken — you’d be told it also encompassed customer service and community involvement.
Under Cathy’s philosophy, Chick-fil-A restaurants became more than places for fast food — their employees also become family. So when employees at Chick-fil-A’s Winter Garden location learned their friend and coworker, Darius Jones, was involved in a serious car accident, his Chick-fil-A family jumped into action.
Upon hearing that her coworker and friend was seriously injured, Victoria Smith knew she had to do something. She created a GoFundMe page for Jones, who now is recovering from injuries sustained from the crash.
“I started the GoFundMe because Darius is a good friend of mine, and he is a major role model at our Chick-fil-A,” Smith said. “I knew he was going to be in financial need, as he stayed in the hospital for a week and now is looking at 12 weeks of recovery with a lot of physical therapy. There are so many people (who) know and love Darius, so I knew there would be lots of people who would want to help support him and show him how cared for he is.”
Three weeks ago, Jones was driving home from Orlando on a Friday night when his car collided with a semi truck. The car was totaled, and Jones sustained serious injuries, including a broken femur and knee cap, as well as bruising and scratching to his face, eye and arms. Wreckers who came to his aid said he was lucky to be alive, Smith said.
The GoFundMe page was created Aug. 22. Since then, 66 people have helped raise $3,245 for Jones’s recovery process. However, as Smith said, that amount totals only a small percentage of everything he is facing financially. He will need a new vehicle and faces medical bills, along with physical therapy.
“It’s so amazing to see how everyone comes together to show that they care for him,” Smith said. “I think this has helped motivate him to heal and stay positive throughout this process. That was really my main purpose in starting the GoFundMe. The money helps a lot, but mostly it’s encouraging him to stay focused on recovering.”
When Jones saw the GoFundMe page and how many people had shared and donated in his name, he was simultaneously shocked and humbled.
“The support that I am receiving from my friends, coworkers, guests from work and community has just been a complete blessing,” Jones said. “I am extremely shocked to have collected the amount I currently have, and I am just so thankful for every donation.”
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].