A warm welcome: Reader's Digest looking for 'Nicest Place in America'

Jennifer Cohron
Posted 5/19/17

Where were you the last time you thought to yourself, “The people here are always so nice”?

For me, it was Chick-fil-A.

I’ve had some serious talks over their original chicken sandwich over the years. The food is always hot, the staff is …

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A warm welcome: Reader's Digest looking for 'Nicest Place in America'

Posted

Where were you the last time you thought to yourself, “The people here are always so nice”?

For me, it was Chick-fil-A.

I’ve had some serious talks over their original chicken sandwich over the years. The food is always hot, the staff is always friendly and the atmosphere always puts me at ease.

This week I discovered that Chick-fil-A has a digital magazine that highlights feel-good stories associated with the 50-year-old restaurant chain.

“Our restaurants are often the setting for serendipitous moments where acts of human kindness inspire conversation. So, while we use the site to give guests the information they need about our menu, ingredients and restaurants, we also want to offer them something a little unexpected, like access to acclaimed chefs, seasonal recipes they can make at home and stories that inspire,” Ashley Callahan, Chick-fil-A’s digital communications and content strategy manager, said when The Chicken Wire launched in November.

One recent story from The Chicken Wire is called “The Day Chick-fil-A Opened Up for Just One Special Guest.”

Six-year-old Christopher Cataldo loves Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries, one of only seven foods he’s allowed to eat as a result of a chronic immune disease triggered by food and environmental allergens.

The disease is the reason that Christopher couldn’t walk inside his favorite restaurant until franchise operator Brad Munson came to the rescue.

Munson made Christopher “Operator for the Day” prior to the grand opening of his Chick-fil-A in Houston, Texas.

The Chicken Wire features photos of the two touring the restaurant and posing with the Chick-fil-A cow.

“We even had the play area sterilized. If you think about it, for a child to go through the drive-thru, see the play area and know he can finally go into it — he’s going to remember that for the rest of his life,” Munson said.

If I had to choose the nicest place in America, my vote would go to Chick-fil-A.

The people of Gallatin, Tennessee; Franklin, Nebraska or Chester, California would probably disagree with me. Residents in those communities have submitted entries to Reader’s Digest’s inaugural “Nicest Place in America” contest.

“The idea for ‘Nicest Places’ was simple: At a time when half the country seems to be unhappy with the other half, why not honor the best of who we are?” said Bruce Kelley, Editor-in-Chief and Chief Content Officer of Reader’s Digest. “We all know places where neighbors help one another in good times and bad and where strangers always feel welcome. Reader’s Digest wanted to celebrate those places that embodied that community spirit and remind us that there is still kindness in the world.”

Nominations are being accepted online through the end of May.

According to a recent press release on the contest, each submission must be a physical location in the United States.

It could be a town like Gallatin, where police officers and citizens concerned about police-involved shootings involving black men came together for a prayer vigil last July, or a place like Charlie’s Place Activity and Respite Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which serves dementia patients.

Entries must include a headline, title or tagline, stories about the place and why it should be nominated, as well as pictures. Entries can also include videos, URLs or social media accounts to showcase the niceness of the people there.

Nominations will be narrowed down to 10 finalists and readers will have a chance to vote online for the winning “Nicest Place in America.”

The winner will be featured on the cover of Reader’s Digest’s November issue.

At press time, only three Alabama cities — Troy, Guntersville and Bear Point — were in the running. If you think someplace a little closer to home deserves to be represented, let your voice be heard at www.rd.com/nicestplaces.

Jennifer Cohron is the Daily Mountain Eagle’s features editor.