U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jessie Guajardo and a couple of fellow soldiers were spitballing ideas on how to make the chicken tenders they're being served while on deployment in Iraq more edible.
They couldn't order bottles of sauce because of the refrigeration issue. They'd have to use the whole bottle, and that's wasteful. Then, someone mentioned Chick-fil-A.
Growing up in Flower Mound, Guajardo knew all about Chick-fil-A and its individually packaged sauces. So, Guajardo took a shot in the dark. He fired off a Facebook message to the Chick-fil-A in his hometown.
Two weeks later, Guajardo checked his mail. To his delight -- and to the delight of his fellow soldiers who were enduring overcooked and bland chicken tenders every Sunday night -- the day's delivery included two boxes full of packaged sauces from the Flower Mound Chick-fil-A.
"I actually wasn't expecting anything since I hadn't heard back from my original Facebook message," Guajardo said via Facebook Messenger. "It was definitely an unexpected surprise.
"The food became much more tolerable."
Sending care packages to deployed service personnel is common practice. Military.com lists affordable ideas for military care packages and suggests non-perishable items, which can include condiments. The Military Wife and Mom website recommends Taco Bell hot sauce packets.
Guajardo, who is on a seven-month deployment with the Texas Army National Guard, followed up with a thank-you note to Chick-fil-A Founders Square, which rallied the community around the restaurant. Guajardo wrote that the restaurant's "seemingly small gesture ... single-handedly picked up the spirits of so many people."
Michele Hodapp, marketing director at Chick-fil-A Founders Square, said that after receiving Guajardo's request, "we did not hesitate to fulfill it and immediately sent cases of barbecue and Chick-fil-A sauce for the troops' chicken tender Sundays.
"The opportunity to provide some sense of home to someone from our community and our troops is very rewarding."
For the troops, the Flower Mound restaurant's gesture turned out to be good public relations, probably better than any cow campaign.
"I would definitely say more people are gonna visit when they get back," Guajardo said. "People tend to remember all the good things when they are over here, and I'm sure they won't forget when back in the States."