JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – One local Chick-Fil-A is making a difference in the lives of a Piney Flats family, and now their story has been shared with the entire nation.
In Monday night’s College Football Playoffs between Louisiana State University and Clemson University, all eyes were on the game, but during halftime, the focus switched to a Chick-Fil-A commercial that featured a local family and staff from the West Market Street location.
Kristin and Jason Trivett began fostering a little boy named Kyle in March 2017, but being fairly newly-weds and now new parents, they weren’t sure what to do next. They said it was a new challenge they were ready to face head-on, but while they figured out their next move, they decided to stop for lunch at the West Market Street Chick-Fil-A.
The Trivett’s said the stop at the popular chain restaurant helped shape a life-changing decision.
“Every time we’d walk in, he’d say, oh it’s a hard day and they’d give him his own badge and they’d say come make your own ice cream. they became our people and they started learning about the foster care system with us,” said Kyle’s mother, Kristin Trivett.
Chick-Fil-A staff have a reputation for going above and beyond for their customers but the Trivett’s said the staff at this particular location have provided more than just excellent service. Ever since their first visit, they have continued the tradition of eating at that Chick-Fil-A every Saturday.
For the past three years, the staff at the restaurant learned alongside the Trivetts about what it takes to foster a child. With life lessons along the way also came an everlasting bond between the family and employees.
“We’ve watched this family grow by leaps and bounds, we’ve gone through the ups and downs with the foster care system,” said West Market Street Chick-Fil-A Marketing Director, Elizabeth Carmack.
One day, there was a change in their weekly routine after the Trivett’s received a call from Chick-Fil-A corporate who had caught wind of the family’s story through social media.
“She said, ‘I’m with Chick-Fil-A and I was just wondering if you could tell us why the Chick-Fil-A employees of West Market were at your son’s adoption?'” said Trivett.
After flying out to New York and filming the commercial, everyone involved was sworn to secrecy so the commercial would be a surprise to family and friends.
On Monday night their story was shown in the national spotlight as the Chick-Fil-A commercial finally aired following two months of secrecy surrounding the project. Trivett said Kyle actually fell asleep before the commercial aired but was shown a recording the next morning. She says he was ecstatic to see it and she’s glad the nation could see just how amazing her little boy is.
“He is just a special person that everyone should get to know and now you kind of have a little piece of knowing who he is and his goodness,” said Trivett.
For Chick-Fil-A employee, Elizabeth Carmack, it was about more than just a heart-warming 30-second spot for the national chain, it was about spreading a message.
“We didn’t do this to toot our own horn and say how great we are, but we want to open the door so people can be more informed about foster care and about the adoption process,” she said.
News Channel 11 sat down with Kristin Trivett who said she has dedicated her life to finding foster children their forever home following her experience with Kyle.
Speaking of forever homes, Kyle was adopted by the Trivett family on June 16, 2019. Kyle’s Chick-Fil-A family showed up to the adoption, sure to not miss the biggest day of this little boy’s life so far.
Prior to this, the staff never knew that their actions really could make a difference.
“It’s not work. It’s because I get to do stuff like this that I don’t see the impact we make but apparently it’s out there, I’m just doing my job,” said Carmack.
Chick-Fil-A became their safe place in rough times and formed a bond between their family and once complete strangers.
“They are our people. They’re the people who taught us how to be a family,” said Trivett.
After their journey from fostering to adoption, the Trivetts continue their journey with foster care. In fact, she says just two days before Christmas, she began fostering another child.
“I think people are afraid of what foster care would look like or saying we just can’t do that right now, but you can,” said Trivett.
Kristin hopes that their commercial helps shine a spotlight on how magical fostering a child can be. She currently works for the Isaiah 117 house in Elizabethton. They work closely with children removed from homes who are awaiting foster families.
For more information regarding their mission and how you can foster a child, click here.