Chick-fil-A surprised a regular customer with a giant party and free meals for life in honor of his milestone 100th birthday.
Stephen Bellissimo has been visiting the same Chick-Fil-A location in Oldsmar, Florida, for nearly 20 years, KTRK-TV reports. Not only is he consistent with his orders, but he likes to sit in the same booth during each of his visits.
When the chain’s staffers found out that Stephen was turning 100, they started planning a surprise party for the loyal customer, who often stays there for several hours at a time.
Major milestone: A Chick-Fil-A in Oldsmar, Florida, surprised Stephen Bellissimo (pictured) with a party this week in honor of his 100th birhday
Amazing: Stephen was told that he would now be getting free meals for the rest of his life
A shocked Stephen was greeted by family and friends when he walked into the restaurant on September 21.
The restaurant was decorated with balloons, streamers, and a banner, while a birthday cake, cards, and a Chick-fil-A gift bag sat on top of his favorite booth.
Stephen used to make daily visits to Chick-fil-A, but he suffered a fall last year and now lives with his son, who now takes him to the Oldsmar location once a week.
Brittani Craft, marketing director for Chick-fil-A, told Fox 13 that he is known as ‘Mr. Steve’ at the restaurant and staffers make sure to take turns stopping by his booth during his Friday visits.
‘It’s so heartwarming to watch his affect on everyone here,’ she said. ‘He makes everyone here feel loved and welcome.’
Heartwarming: ‘That is the best gift I could ever receive!’ Stephen said of the gift
Touching: Stephen has been visiting the same Chick-Fil-A location for nearly 20 years, and staffers decorated his favorite booth with card and birthday cake
Gang’s all here! Stephen’s family and friends were all invited to the party
Touched: Stephen vowed to visit the chain every day after learning that he would now be eating for free
While Stephen had been getting free coffee and 50 per cent off of his orders, the location surprised him a second time by revealing that his meals would now be free for the rest of his life.
‘Oh, I think this is just one great surprise for me. I didn’t expect anything like this,’ he told Fox 13 of the generous offer.
‘That is the best gift I could ever receive! Thank you very much!’
Stephen was just as excited to sit in his regular booth and hang out with his family and friends during the thoughtful surprise party.
‘I cant believe it,’ he gushed. ‘Instead of coming once a week, now I’m coming every day.’
Favorite customer: Last year, the location celebrated his 99th birthday in a similar fashion
Positive outlook: Stephen’s secret to longevity is being happy every day
Although Stephen was undoubtedly surprised when he walked into his party, it isn’t the first one the chain has thrown for him.
Last year, the location celebrated his 99th birthday in a similar fashion and posted pictures from his party on the Chick-fil-A Oldsmar Facebook page.
‘Mr. Steve has made his impact on each team member he has come across,’ the company explained. ‘So today, we did what we could to try to make his 99th birthday a very memorable one.
‘We decorated his booth, bought him a cake and card signed by all employees, and gave him a special bouquet of flowers that he could take to honor his wife. We even had past team members come back on their own, just to celebrate him.’
In the post, the chain also revealed that staffers were already thinking about Stephen’s 100th birthday party.
‘His reaction when he walked in to see his balloons and all of us waiting for him was something that none of us are likely to forget. And we cannot wait to celebrate the big 100 with him next year,’ reads last year’s Facebook message.
‘Oh, and if you’re wondering what his secret to longevity is, it’s pretty simple – he says you just have to be happy, everyday [sic].’