JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Several Chick-fil-A employees around Florida are being credited with helping a couple get their runaway teen daughter home.
On Tuesday, Steve and Tammy Harp discovered a note left by their 16-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, saying she had run off with a 19-year-old man she met online seven months ago. They found a photo of the two on Instagram, and he was wearing a Chick-fil-A shirt.
Kaitlyn's parents went to the Chick-fil-A near Jacksonville International Airport to ask if anyone had seen the two, or if he worked there. No one there had seen Kaitlyn or knew the 19-year-old worker, Daniel Bridgeman. Managers put her in touch with an area store in Yulee.
Manager Lita Fannin asked the Harps to e-mail her the pictures, which she posted on a Facebook site for Chick-fil-A operators that could be seen by hundreds.
Within two hours, a Chick-fil-A manager in Winter Haven recognized the employee, called the parents and told his worker to have the girl call home. Then Elio Florin, the manager, drove the girl back home to Jacksonville from Winter Haven, arriving at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Harps were grateful for the managers' assistance.
"Tears were shed in our driveway this morning," said Tammy Harp. "He (Florin couldn't sleep, he is a father too, he could not go to bed without resting, knowing that she was home safe."
Harp said Fannin could have opted to ignore the couple's plea.
"She could have just wiped it away, 'aw no big deal,' but she put it upon herself, being a mother, said 'I have to get involved,'" Tammy Harp.
For Fannin, helping was a no-brainer.
"I have kids around that age, and I would hope if that happened to me, someone would act quickly," said Fannin. "It turned out really positive, really quickly, which is a blessing," said Fannin.
Bridgeman, the 19-year-old Chick-Fil-A worker, had driven up from Winter Haven and picked Kaitlyn up at her home in the middle of the night. He faces no charges but the Harps said he got a stern lecture from officers who were at their home when he, Florin and Kaitlyn arrived.
"We can't thank them enough, we can't thank them enough. They went the extra mile, above their call of duty getting involved," said Tammy Harp.