Sarah and Jonathan Massey were devastated when they euthanized their sick dog, Mollie, and they wanted her to have the best possible day – a car ride, a visit to the park, a Starbucks cupcake and chicken nuggets.
“The grocery store radar,” said Sarah Massey, 31, explaining that the chicken nuggets from Chicken-fil-A were her dog food, which Mollie sometimes got as a treat.
Massie stopped at the local Chicken Fil-A in Houston on January 26 to buy 30 chicken nuggets for Mollie’s last meal.
Mollie was in kidney failure and rapidly deteriorating. Even though he had the slightest appetite, Massey knew he wouldn’t turn down the nugget.
“It was just annoying,” said Massey, who adopted Mollie from the Houston SPCA in 2010, when Massey was an 18-year-old student at Texas A&M University.
When Massey placed an order for chicken-fil-A-per-pull, the employee seemed confused that he didn’t want to order sauces or side dishes to go with his 30 nuggets. Massey – a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children’s Hermann Memorial Hospital – solemnly explained that the lump was not human, but rather his dog, who would be put down the next day.
Massey was stunned when he pulled up to the window to pay – and didn’t charge. The worker at the window simply said, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it today.”
“We know this is so difficult for you,” they told him.
“Then I just started sobbing,” said Massey, who posted a tearful video on social media after the experience, thanking the fast-food chain for being compassionate on a difficult day. The last video I saw was feeding Mollie with her hands.
“The benefit absolutely touched me,” Massey said in a phone interview with The Washington Post. “I think dogs are the universal language of love.”
A few days after Mollie posted, Massey received a message on Instagram from the Fil-A Chicken corporate account, requesting her email address. Let them know that they have an eye for something special in the mail.
Massey – who opened the box himself and revealed the package’s contents – wept as he revealed each portrait, which captured Mollie’s unique features – with brown and black spots and floppy ears. Mollie was a cross between an Australian cattle dog and a hare, with a goofy personality and boundless energy.
“She’s my little girl,” Massey said, clutching the gift tightly in her arms. “They painted my girl for me.”
In an email to The Post, Chick-fil-A Inc. He said: “It’s one of the few ways we can show we care and show up for our guests when they need it the most.”
For Massey, the unexpected donation was a major pick-me-up.
“I didn’t have to do anything, and it went above and beyond,” Massey said, adding that he believed the staff knew what Mollie looked like from her photos on Massey’s Instagram profile. He said he knew “another little reminder of himself.”
The package also includes an autograph card, a t-shirt and other small gifts.
‘Huge chick MASS person’
Massey – who has several chronic illnesses, including gastroparesis, a condition that causes paralysis of the stomach – confirmed that he never worked for Chicken fil-A and did not get anything from the company other than a 30-pack and a sympathy package. In fact, once a business on Instagram called out an allergen in its products. He announces his health day and shares his educational resources on his Instagram page.
Although he has not been able to eat at the fast-food chain for the past three years due to a stomach condition, before this he was a “huge chicken butcher”.
So Mollie also became a chicken-fil-ditch fan. While Mollie never had a full share to herself, Massey was always sure to throw a puppy or two.
“She’s been my other half forever, and at any time I’d like to have something,” Massey said, adding that she and her husband have two other pets — Brooklyn, a 2-year-old Labrador mix, and Mookie, a 4-year-old orange-spotted cat. .
The whole house, including the animals, is missing Mollie.
“I have days where I’m sad, and I wish I could hold on and cherish the moment,” Massey said.
Losing Mollie left her empty and grieving, but the sincere kindness of strangers, she said, made it a little easier to cope. A portrait of Mollie sits in the Massey house, Mollie with ashes and a foot print.
Massey said he was grateful he was looking.
“It’s still humanity,” Massey said. “They care.”