Mark Bigham believes in supporting the community around him, especially during difficult times.

“Firefighters, police and EMS are on the front lines every day and now they have Coronavirus to deal with,” said Mark, a AT&T Central Office technician in Shreveport, Louisiana. “With all that’s going on around us, I wanted to do something to thank them. I wanted to do something to help.”

And around lunchtime on March 25, as Mark made a stop at one of his favorite fast-food restaurants, he came upon his opportunity to offer up that gratitude.

“I was headed up to Oil City when I stopped by Whataburger and I saw the fire truck pull up to the drive thru,” Mark said. “The firefighters all got out and I saw them standing in line behind me. So, when I pulled up to the window, I asked the lady if it would be ok if I paid for their lunch. It was something that just popped into my head.” 

Standing in line behind Mark’s car were 5 members of Shreveport Fire Station 4 – Capt. Tony Moffett, engineers Sharon Sullivan and Joe Norris, and firefighters Kyle Newton and Tony McCoy – unaware of the gesture extended their way just a few feet ahead.

“That’s not something that happens very often,” Capt. Moffett said. “When we got up there and the lady said it was already paid for by the AT&T employee, we were stunned.”

Common bond in the community

Mark says he believes there is a shared bond between AT&T’s front-line. So  employees protecting our network and first responders protecting our communities. 

“I think we’re all in kind of the same situation,” Mark said. “We’re essential in our community right now. We have kids schooling from home and parents working from home. Without us being out there to keep equipment up and running, much of that couldn’t happen."

“However, I think the firefighters, police and medical workers – who are protecting us every day – stand above us in our community. We owe them a lot right now. I figured this was a quick way I could show them we appreciate them.”

The lasting impact of a simple gesture

A hamburger lunch, as simple as it may sound, made the day for Capt. Moffett and his crew.

“It was awesome,” Capt. Moffett said. “We just wish we could have thanked him.”

But Mark didn’t wait around to receive a thank you. Lunch was a gesture he intended to make anonymously – just like the times he’s done it in his community before. However, his anonymity didn’t last long, as a picture of his good deed, taken by one of the firefighters, ended up on social media and was then published on a local radio station’s website.

“We just want him to know how much that gesture meant to us,” Capt. Moffett said. So, in place of an in-person thank you, the lunch bunch from Fire Station 4 sent a video message to AT&T.

While shying away from the spotlight is Mark’s style, AT&T has a long history of helping in the communities it serves. To Mark and those like him, we thank you for what you do to make the world around us a better place. And to those serving on the front-lines during these uneasy times, we’re in your debt for putting yourselves in harm’s way to help protect all of us.

We’re in this together.