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Chattanooga Olive Garden buys Kentucky Track Team $800 meal

An Olive Garden manager decided to treat this special high school track and field team to dinner. (Courtesy: Marshall County Track & Field)

On Friday night, the Olive Garden at Hamilton Place Mall was met with a big task.

The manager that night, Bill Funderberk, had received a call that a group of 50-60 people would be coming in for dinner.

At the size of the group, Funderberk was slightly overwhelmed but that feeling quickly became another entirely.

While helping his servers wait on the large party, Funderberk says he noticed many of them wearing shirts that said "Marshall."

At that, Funderberk asked the group what their shirts meant and quickly received a proud explanation that he was waiting on the Marshall County High School Track & Field team.

In January, a shooter entered Marshall County high school and killed two students, injuring 18 others.

Two of the 18 who were injured were sitting at the table Funderberk was waiting on.

The restaurant manager says he learned one of the athletes at the table had received a bullet wound while another was injured while trying to escape the chaos.

Funderberk says his first reaction was to do something nice for the team visiting the Scenic City for a Track meet.

He called his District Manager and asked what they could do.

The two decided the least they could do would be to take care of the bill.

Over the phone, the District Manager told NewsChannel 9 getting to help the team was "one of the highlights of [his] professional life."

Olive Garden picked up the $789.26 bill, sending the team to it's Saturday competition well fed and well-versed in Chattanoogan hospitality.




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