GUNTERSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) — The average age of retirement is 65, but for Carol Beck, that just meant it was time for a career change.
“I am 82 years old and I retired from working in finance in Huntsville. I retired in 2004 and I came here in 2006,” she told News 19.
She started as the marketing director for Guntersville’s Chick-Fil-A location, but transitioned to Hospitality Director, helping guests in the dining room, after her husband’s death.
“I sit home, I’m a widow-woman, and the 4 walls don’t talk to you,” Ms. Carol explained.
But co-workers and customers do and to them, she is known as ‘Ms. Carol.’
“Ms. Carol is well known. All the little kids know when they come in. They start yelling at her, Ms. Carol, Ms. Carol!’ She has a little cult following,” Guntersville Chick-Fil-A owner/operator Bob Moore said.
The feelings are mutual.
“I love the people I meet and I met so many wonderful people, adults and children. That, that’s my life,” Ms. Carol said.
She told News 19 just a few of the countless stories that she said make her feel like she’s accomplishing her life mission to serve others.
“I had one person come in Saturday. I refilled his drink and thanked him for coming in and he said ‘Ms. Carol I want you to know you made my day. I lost a real close relative this morning. You gave me a bright smile and you just don’t know how much I appreciate it,'” she said. “You know, a smile doesn’t cost a thing.”
She also mentioned a story about a softball team from Phenix City.
“They left and serenaded me ‘bye Ms. Carol, bye Ms. Carol. Then they invited me to their game at Sand Mountain Park,” she said. “I went up there and you would’ve thought I was a queen. Everybody in that park knew who Ms. Carol was and Chick-Fil-A.”
They left her with a parting gift after winning the championship game, a ball that had all of their signatures on it.
One memory especially stands out, she said. Marketta Moore was traveling with her three kids, from her stationed home in Germany, to meet her husband in the North Alabama area. She, her baby boy and his two sisters stopped in to get a bite to eat and enjoy the PlayPlace. But when it was time to leave, her 2-year-old daughter Margeaux wasn’t quite ready to go.
“I guess Ms. Carol just saw me crawling around with a baby on my arm and she walked in. She got Margeaux to come to her, which, Margeaux wasn’t a super friendly baby but she went to Ms. Carol. She sat on her lap and [Ms. Carol] put on [Margeaux’s] shoes. Next thing I know, Ms. Carol is picking her up, bringing her to the car!”
Marketta Moore (no relation to Bob Moore) went back to that Chick-Fil-A the next day and gave Ms. Carol a card, thanking her for her help and calling her a ‘guardian angel’ for the day.
“When you’re struggling and someone recognizes that, you just feel seen. It was like somebody’s grandma walking up,” Moore said. “It’s like she just knew I needed it.”
Moore even went one step further. She posted on Facebook, sharing her experience with Ms. Carol. It caught the eye of Chick-Fil-A’s corporate office, which asked if Ms. Carol and Marketta would want to be in a commercial together as part of their “#The Little Things” series.
The commercial was shot in New York shortly before the pandemic. It recently aired nationally.
“It means a lot. I sort of shy away from it but it’s so rewarding to know — I just hear all good remarks and people thanking me and everything. Again, I contribute it to my coworkers and mainly my bosses,” Ms. Carol said.
Her boss, Bob Moore, said it’s them who are the lucky ones.
“You can’t teach a servant heart to most folks. Ms. Carol just has that already in her,” he said. “Age has nothing to do with how hard you work and where your heart is.”
Ms. Carol said there are three things she loves the most:
“I love my church, I love my family and I love my Chick-Fil-A,” she said. “As long as God gives me health I’ll probably keep working, and as long as they’ll keep me!”