Serving up smiles in the morning with ‘Mr. Jim’
Mornings at Chick-fil-A of Dahlonega are greeted with cars from the drive through wrapped around the building, lines of customers and the gossip of eager patrons awaiting the most important meal of the day.
But through this bustle of chaos, a familiar face often emerges.
Jim Perkins, known many as “Mr. Jim,” is always there to greet each customer with a smile and small talk.
“I’ve always been a people person,” said the popular Director of Attentive Serve. “I get in their space, and if they let me in their space, I settle in and talk.”
Although Perkins settled down in Gainesville with his wife and family, he holds a special attachment to the Dahlonega community.
Specifically, the small town ways of chatting with people on a daily basis and getting to know who they are is a pleasing experience for Perkins.
“As we interact, they share their lives,” Perkins said with a smile. “[It’s] interacting with people and getting to know them on a personal level.”
Perkins keeps track of his customers too. He recounts seeing frequent customers go through life experiences, like having babies, and watching those babies grow as a highlight of his service.
“It’s a special time for me,” Perkins said.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Perkins has a personal connection with college students that frequent Chick-fil-A as a typical hang-out spot.
“I have such a love for students at [UNG] campus,” he said.
The feeling is mutual.
“Mr. Jim goes out of his way and wants to put a smile on people’s faces,” said Samuel Lowrey, a UNG student. “He makes it a nice experience going in there.”
Frequent customer and college student Nicholas Ehmann describes just how much of an influence Perkins has on him.
“He can brighten up anybody’s day,” he said. “Honestly, I love that man.”
UNG Student Elaine Duckworth often studies at Chick-fil-A and found an unconventional tutor in Perkins.
“He will always be there to make you feel better and encourage you,” said Duckworth.
FAITH IN PUBLIC SERVICE
Faith, said Perkins, is his foundation for serving others in the community. He said his customers are often receptive to this approach as well.
“[I can] rejoice with [customers] and walk through sorrow with them and pray with them,” Perkins said. “I can be free to minister to people.”
With Perkins’ presence, the Dahlonega Chick-fil-A has become more than just another restaurant for many locals.
“[It’s] not the Chick-fil-A experience without him,” said Mark Handley, a student at UNG.
And, for Mr. Jim, it’s more than a typical job.
“This is like home,” he said with a smile.