Joel Harris enjoys playing golf. The Packers are his favorite team. He also has a job researching chemistry. But ask him what his favorite place is, and the answer may be a bit surprising.
Harris, a third-year in biology, is a life-long fan of the fast food restaurant chain Long John Silver’s. The Columbus location even threw him a party last month after two years of persistence from Harris.
When he started college, Harris didn’t get to go to Long John Silver’s as much because he does not have a car. In January of 2015, he began to direct message the company on Twitter to show his passion. For the past two years he has sent the company a variety of messages regularly.
“So every week or so I would just say how much I miss them and how much I love them,” Harris said. “They finally followed me and I told them that my life was complete now.”
Harris said his love for the restaurant stems from eating there often as a child.
“I really like their chicken planks,” he said. “I can’t remember when I first had it, but I’ve been a huge fan since I was a child.”
When the company was informed of the direct messages about a month ago, they knew they needed to do something, assistant account executive Kelsey Shannon said in an email.
“The company learned about the messages months ago,” Shannon said. “Immediately we knew we wanted to do something for him, so we reached out. We noticed Joel was a huge fan of the brand and had a lot of memorable moments including birthdays and graduation parties with us.”
Long John Silver’s sent Harris three “kissy face emojis” around a month ago and promised to send him some food vouchers. That was just the start.
The restaurant reached out to Harris and told him to be at the Long John Silver’s in Columbus at 11 a.m. for a celebration. Harris was the one of the first in Ohio to try the new Beer Battered Alaskan Cod, which wasn’t set to be released until Jan. 30, three days after the party was held.
“The CEO and people from corporate were all there,” Harris said. “They wanted to celebrate my fandom, so they let me, my friends and family try their new beer battered fish.”
Along with the chance to try their new food item came more presents. Long John Silver’s gave Harris $500 worth of merchandise. These items included a windbreaker, t-shirt, polo shirt, baseball cap, water bottle, North Face jacket and a giant chocolate fish.
“The leadership team here has such an appreciation of our existing and new brand ambassadors,” Shannon said. “There was something about Joel and his persistency though, so we felt it needed a special response.”
Harris said he has also received a lot of love from his family and friends, and the media.
“I was recently in contact with someone at Long John Silver’s and they sent me an email containing all of the articles they’ve seen about the situation,” Harris said. “It’s very cool.”
With all the love he’s received, Harris, wanted to give some back to his hometown Long John Silver’s location in Springboro, Ohio.
“I’d like to give a shout-out to Darren, my favorite fry cook back in Springboro” Harris said. “He’s always there when I go and he’s extremely nice and makes the best food. He makes the Springboro location a top-tier experience.”