A North Carolina Chick-Fil-A employee and honors high school senior in Wilson received the surprise of a lifetime during a recent shift.
Malcolm Jones thought he was helping to film a commercial, but, found out the cameras and crowd were all to surprise him with a fifty thousand dollar college scholarship.
Jones first got the surprise he is one of 13 employees across the nation chosen to receive a twenty-five thousand dollar Chick-Fil-A True Inspiration college scholarship. But, for Jones, the surprise got even bigger.
To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the scholarship program, only one person was chosen for double the scholarship this year.
Out of all the applicants in the country, Jones was chosen.
"Never have they ever given away a $50,000 scholarship," explained Christy Proctor, owner of the Wilson Chick-Fil-A. "So, Malcolm is the first and because it was for a 50th-anniversary celebration, he'll probably be the last," Proctor added.
As the oldest child of 11, Jones will be the first in his family to attend college.
"I'll be a first-generation college student," Jones explained. "I'll be the first one to step on campus and be able to break the generational curse. I applied originally to High Point University and that was like my hurdle there because tuition for me and my family and our situation is kind of expensive. So, I was willing to go to a different college to try to lessen that burden."
Jones's father, Alan, encouraged him not to give up on his dream and lean on his faith. "I told him this in faith, hoping that God was going to make a way," Alan Jones said.
Jone's essay about how his inspiration to study education came from his second-grade teacher, Mrs. Gail Mahan is what stood out for the 50 thousand-dollar scholarship.
"She just made the classroom experience more real, more live, and I was able to live it, and I want to be able to pass that on to future students," Jones said.
Mahan also attended the check presentation as another surprise.
"I cried when I got the call," Mahan said. "I was just so proud of him. Malcolm just loved learning and it was so easy to engage him."
Jones said he never forgot how much of an impact Mahan made on him.