When Michael Villanueva left his regular WestPointe Village Chick-Fil-A register in mid-June for medical reasons, customers and employees took notice.
A smiling face many customers at the WestPointe Village Chick-Fil-A had gotten used to, folks began to question if Villanueva was okay and upon learning about his health issues inquired how they could help.
“Michael’s commitment to our WestPointe Village location has impacted out team members and our community,” said Hal Leedy, operator of the WestPointe Village Chick-Fil-A location. “He knows our guests by name and loves memorizing their favorite Chick-Fil-A orders.”
Suffering from diabetes that led to some small amputations within his foot, Villanueva found his healing delayed due to circulation problems. As a caretaker of his 91-year-old mother and deaf wife, Villanueva has found bills piling up during his work leave.
To aid Villanueva with growing medical expenses, the WestPointe Village Chick-Fil-A is hosting a “Pack the House” day for its beloved manager on Tuesday August 6.
Proceeds from all purchases at breakfast, lunch and dinner will be contributed to offset Villanueva’s medical expenses.
“He’s a very special guy and we want to help him out during this time,” Leedy said.
Villanueva said he’s been astounded by the amount of community support he’s received and that it makes him wake up within a state of disbelief.
“The idea for this event was sparked by the numerous guests and Chick-Fil-A team members who asked what they could do to help Michael,” said Logan Hernandez, WesPointe Village Chick-Fil-A director of operations. “So many people consider Michael like family and really just want to show their support.”
Villanueva will make an appearance at the event, and said he is looking forward to seeing his friends and colleagues who have become a family to him.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Villanueva said. “I’ll be going in the morning because I have to stay off my left foot, — it’s like being under house arrest,” he said with a laugh.
Seeing the comments on the Facebook event for the Pack the House day, and on a GoFundMe created for him, Villanueva said he teared up a bit reading the names of locals he’s seen coming to the restaurant over his five-year career at WestPointe Chick-Fil-A.
“I know a lot of these customers by name, the families — I remember kids being in junior high and now they’ve graduated and come in on their own,” he said. “Anytime someone comes in if I don’t know their name, I ask them — I have a knack for names, and just love people.”
Villanueva said he’s never worked with such an understanding company, but that Chick-Fil-A stands out.
“I’ve been in fast food and service since I was 23, and no other company would let someone take a leave this long,” he said. “I’m really hoping to return back to work soon, at least part time — I see light at end of tunnel for healing,” Villanueva said.
WestPointe Village Chick-Fil-A is located at 1663 W. State Highway 46.