Due to a rare condition, Christopher Cataldo can only eat seven foods. So when one fast food manager found out an item on his menu was one of them, he was amazed. And then, he decided to do the sweetest thing.
Kellie Cataldo and her family reside in Spring, Texas, where she runs her own photography business. However, this mom dedicates most of her time to caring for her two young children.
Cataldo is the loving mother to a girl named Anna Claire and a boy called Christopher, who is six years old. In 2013 doctors discovered that little Christopher had a rare condition called eosinophilic esophagitis disease. Those with the syndrome suffer from inflammation in the esophagus – the pipe that transports food from the mouth to the stomach.
The disease makes it very difficult for Christopher to assimilate most foods. In fact, a shocking 90 percent of the food items on earth cause the little boy to be ill. As a result, he survives on an extremely limited diet and can’t indulge in many of the same treats that other children his age enjoy.
Because of his condition, doctors have said that Christopher has to limit his diet to just seven foods. However, this restrictive list doesn’t just contain healthy items. In fact, one of the youngster’s favorite snacks comes from the popular fast food chain Chick-fil-A.
The item in question? Chick-fil-A waffle fries. Not only does Christopher find the fries delicious, but being able to eat them gives him some semblance of normality. “It makes him feel like a normal six-year-old. It makes him feel like a normal child,” his mom told KHOU11.
But while Christopher has always loved the restaurant’s waffle fries, he hadn’t actually entered a Chick-fil-A outlet since he was two. The eosinophilic esophagitis disease has wreaked havoc on the brave little boy’s immune system, and the consequent threat of serious illness means that it’s too risky for him to mix with loads of other people. Sadly, this prevents Christopher from eating out at his favorite fast food joint like other kids.
Nevertheless, although he couldn’t enter Chick-fil-A, Christopher has always had a strong connection with the location. “He associates this as his place,” Cataldo told KHOU11. “Not that he can come in and eat in this place but we go through the drive through one to two times a day.”
So, needless to say, Chick-fil-A has played a big part of Christopher’s life. In fact, the little boy actually loved the chain so much that he aspired to run his own franchise one day. Or at the very least, he longed to work behind the restaurant’s counter.
Thanks to Christopher’s loyalty to Chick-fil-A, it didn’t take long for those high up at the restaurant to notice him, and they were eager to do something in return. So when another franchise opened in nearby Tomball Parkway, its owner spotted the perfect opportunity.
One day in April 2017, Brad Munson, the franchise owner, decided to turn Christopher’s dreams into reality. He invited the youngster to his restaurant and then handed over the reins. Yes, Christopher was to be the proud owner of a Chick-fil-A for a while.
Tomball Parkway restaurant staff announced the occasion on the company’s Facebook page. “Today, we have the wonderful honor and pleasure of making someone’s dream come true,” the post read. “Christopher Cataldo is one of the strongest six-year-olds we have ever met.”
When Christopher arrived for his shift, Munson pinned a name tag to his shirt and told him, “You’re the boss today, OK?” The six-year-old couldn’t have been more excited about what was ahead.
His mother was equally delighted. “He talks about owning a Chick-fil-A one day so he can go inside and eat,” she explained. “So this is a dream that’s coming true. Just to be able to come in even for an hour or two, just to experience it.”
During his trip to the restaurant, Christopher got to see how every aspect of the restaurant worked. He took orders from hungry customers. Plus, he even got to make a batch of his personal favorite – waffle fries.
Munson showed him all around and even let Christopher work the drive-through he was so familiar with. The little one even managed to squeeze in a test run of the restaurant’s brand new play area. And then – best of all – he finally sat down to tuck into some delicious fries.
In fact, it seems making the treat with his own fair hands somehow made them even more delicious than they had been before. Describing his meal, Cristopher simply said, “Yummy. Really yummy. Thumbs up.”
Reflecting on what had been a pretty perfect day at work, Christopher’s mom welled up. “It means the world,” she told KHOU11. “I could not have asked for a better gift today or in general just to give to him.”
The customers who visited Chick-fil-A, meanwhile, didn’t know what it meant to the little boy who served them. To him, it was everything. “He will relive this in his mind every day,” Christopher’s mom confirmed.
Yes, what began as a simple act of kindness by the staff at Chick-fil-A soon spiraled into something much more important. For the first time in years, Christopher got to feel like every other little kid. Even if it was just for a few hours.