When one Florida man turned 100, staffers at his favorite local Chick-fil-A took it upon themselves to go all-out for a surprise birthday celebration.
On September 21, Stephen Bellissimo visited the chicken-centric chain in Oldsmar, as is his weekly ritual, and was shocked to find the restaurant full of family, friends and decorations on his milestone birthday.
“Oh I think this just one great surprise for me. I didn’t expect anything like this,” the centenarian told Fox 13 of the festivities in his honor.
According to the outlet, Bellissimo has been frequenting this same Chick-fil-A, which is roughly 6 miles outside Tampa, on a near daily basis, for the last 20 years. Known for “eating at the same booth virtually every day, ordering almost the same thing, and staying for several hours,” Bellissimo is a beloved regular, affectionately known as "Mr. Steve."
Suffering a fall last year, he has since moved in with his son and visits the Oldsmar location once weekly, Fox 13 reports.
As his 100th birthday drew near, Chick-fil-A was the natural place to celebrate.
“He makes everyone here feel loved and welcomed,” Brittani Craft, marketing director for Chick-fil-A, said in footage obtained by Fox 13.
At the event, Bellissimo was awarded an enviable gift: free Chick-fil-A for life.
“That is the best gift I could ever receive! Thank you very much!” the birthday boy said with a laugh when he heard the news.
“Can I get my same booth? I can’t believe it,” he mused with a big smile. “Instead of coming once a week now I’m coming every day!”
Footage of Bellissimo’s sweet birthday celebrations has since gone viral on Facebook with over 243,000 views, and pulled the heartstrings of many.