Chattanooga (UTC/The Loop)- What could be better than having drinks with friends, watching talented bartenders show off their skills, and raising money for a deserving child all at the same time? The bartending staff at TGI Friday’s in Chattanooga held a competition and auction event Wednesday, September 23 to raise money for a child they are sponsoring with the Make a Wish Foundation. Seven-year-old Reid Scott suffers from Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a highly aggressive cancer, and his wish is to visit his best friend who recently moved to New Zealand. The Friday’s staff hosted a hugely successful event and raised nearly $4,000 in one night to help Reid realize his dream.
Sarah Beeman, a 21-year-old Friday’s employee , “Tonight was so much fun. I can’t believe how many people showed up and I’m really proud to work here because this was such an awesome experience.” She continued,”I don’t usually get to go out and spend money like this but it’s such a good cause.”
The staff worked hard prior to the event, gathering donations from local businesses. These items were then auctioned off to the highest bidder. Raffle tickets were also sold with several donated prizes given out to the winners.
Best Buy, Super Tan, and several local hotels and restaurants donated items and gift certificates for auction. Some of the well known Friday’s employees and guests were also up for auction; the highest bidder winning a date with them.
The UTC Marching Band started out the event by playing a few songs in the lobby at the restaurant, getting people up and moving.
The bartenders then competed with each other, some in teams and some flying solo, to create the best drinks and to do the best bar tricks. The drinks were then auctioned off to the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to Reid and his family. Brady Miller, a veteran Friday’s bartender, won the competition and will move on to compete in the regional competition in Nashville.
Flipping bottles and even ready-to-serve drinks and catching them were just a few of the amazing tricks the Friday’s crew has been practicing. Reid could even be spotted behind the bar flipping plastic bottles with his new friends.
Amanda Grodeman won second place in the competition. She said, “I can’t believe I got second! It was so cool that I got to be part of this. Reid is an amazing kid.” For more information on Reid and his journey, visit his page on CaringBridge.com.
Though the night was truly just a loud party in a bar, the bigger picture shows that the managers and staff of TGI Friday’s know that they have to give back to the community. The event was a total success and nearly enough money was raised to send Reid and his family on a dream vacation.
TGI Friday’s will be sponsoring Reid until this time next year, when they will adopt a new Make A Wish child and host another bar competition. Donations can be made at TGI Fridays at 2 Broad Street in Chattanooga. More information is also available at MakeAWish.org