Basic transportation is a daily struggle for many people around the world. Not everyone is in a place or position to own a car, and in many countries it’s more common to reach your local destinations on foot.
But traveling miles every day in winter conditions to get to a job complicates matters. That’s what 19-year-old Hawaiian native Hokule’a Taniguchi faced every day she set out to work at the Chick-fil-A in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.
Taniguchi had a bike — so at least her commute was shortened thanks to two wheels, but a bike doesn’t offer much protection from the elements.
“I was biking here every morning, so it was a little rough,” Taniguchi said, according to KEPR-TV. “Because I’m from Hawaii, I was like, ‘It’s kinda cold!'”
Best friend Haley Bridges, 17, also works at the same Chick-fil-A, and has been impressed with her friend’s work ethic.
“I couldn’t do it, myself!” Bridges said. “I don’t … I just — I can’t imagine how she does it.”
As Christmas rolled around last year and people got ready for the big festive shindig, there was word that one of the raffle prizes would be a vehicle — and that got the coworkers thinking.
“It was kinda like the rumor at Chick-fil-A that there’s gonna be a car at the giveaway,” Bridges explained. “So, we all put one in and we’re like, ‘If one of us gets it, it’s gonna go to her, like no matter what.’ Like it was not a second thought.”
“Me and her are best friends,” Taniguchi said, “so I like 1,000% believed it.”
The dinner rolled around and the raffle was held: Lo and behold, it was Bridges’ name that was drawn. Plenty of teens would be ecstatic over the new car and eager to test out their ride, but Bridges was excited for her friend.
“I heard my name, I was like, ‘No way!'” she recalled. “And then we looked at each other, and like the — just like the moment felt like everyone wasn’t there, it was just like us two.”
“I literally screeched, like I stood up, and I ran over to her, and I gave her like the biggest hug!” Taniguchi said. “And then I really just started crying, because I was so happy and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this is real!'”
Chick-fil-A Appleton posted photos from the event, highlighting the generosity of their employee.
“This past weekend we had our Christmas Party, to celebrate all of our team’s hard work in 2020! ” they shared on Jan. 11. “It was filled with good food, games, the annual raffle, and even better company.”
“Seeing our team care for each other was our favorite highlight… We were able to give away A CAR this year! Haley won the car, but immediately decided to give it to Hokule’a so she doesn’t have to bike to work anymore!”
The car is more than just a faster way to get to work. It means so many new open doors and possibilities for the 19-year-old who was limited by how far she could get on her bike and how much she could carry.
“Now I can go grocery shopping,” she said. “I can like go to work like five minutes before now, instead of like two hours earlier, just to get here on time. There’s a million more opportunities and like possibilities for me now!”
And all thanks to a very, very good friend who illustrates the sort of character Chick-fil-A is known for.
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