Former Chick-Fil-A intern, Amber Thomas, has made history as the only Black person to own a franchise of the famed fast food restaurant in San Diego, Calif.
According to reports, Thomas began interning at a Chick-Fil-A in her hometown of Spring Valley at just 17 years old, but at the time, she hadn’t even thought about owning a franchise. When she started, She was also one of three Black women in the restaurant’s leadership program of 160 people.
“I started working at Chick-fil-A off Sports Arena Boulevard when I was 17 years old,” she said while delivering words of encouragement to new employees on July 8. “I never thought coming into this parking lot saying like, ‘Hey, one day I’m going to own and operate a Chick-fil-A in this location.’ So, it goes back to making it feel surreal. I’m still trying to register the fact that I’m here, that I’m serving this community.”
Thomas worked her way up at the Sports Arena Boulevard Chick-Fil-A, starting out as an intern and then moving on to several other positions, including team member, cook, and eventually manager.
She graduated from Serra Mesa High School and San Diego State University and traveled across the country when her father served in the U.S. Navy.
“It is humbling, and it is surreal. It has not hit me all the way yet,” Thomas said.
She added that since her recent achievement, she realized that many Black children didn’t think being the owner of a popular fast-food chain was “ever an option” for them.
“When you go around the country, and you meet other little boys and girls [who] look like you, and they are saying, ‘I didn’t know that this was ever an option for me,’” she said.
As the only Black person to own a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in San Diego, Thomas has become a local celebrity, attracting other Black people in the area to her franchise.
“I remember coming here for the first time. I had no idea that she was going to be the operator. I was coming in happy and excited that this is going to be, you know, my new Chick-fil-A, and then I was like, wait, that is a black woman. Okay, yes, I was very happy,” customer Danielle Tucker told Fox8.
Thomas’ franchise is located at Highway 125 and Jamacha Road.