Former students raise money to bid farewell to fast food employee “Mr. Charles”

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    A former TCU student is using an online fundraising site to collect money for a departing Whataburger employee.

    Sarah Geibel, who graduated in December 2013, started a campaign Jan. 26 on the fundraising website Crowdtilt to collect a cash going-away present for long-time Whataburger employee Charles Sneed.

    Sneed is leaving the restaurant to help manage his brother’s trucking company and to provide for his five children, he said.

    “It’s something I was doing before I came to this right here,” he said. “I’m going back to help him out. [My brother] needs a lot of help.”

    Geibel said she has many fond memories of Sneed.

    “Just those early mornings getting coffee and breakfast at, like, four in the morning to go to the library and him throwing in extra hash browns, or something, to say, ‘This is just to keep you going,'” she said.

    It’s more than the extra hash browns, though, which Sneed said he sometimes paid for out-of-pocket.

    “It’s the way I treat them when they come in the door. I treat them all the same,” Sneed said. “And I had to earn they respect, and so by earning they respect, they earned my respect … I’m the person that they ask for when they come in the door.”

    Sneed was more like a counselor for some students, he said.

    “They’d ask me questions like ‘What I should do?’ or ‘Charles, what you think of this?” he said.

    When Geibel and her friends, former TCU students Caroline Schuler and Lanie Milliorn, learned that Sneed was leaving, they wanted to do something nice for him and thought a cash gift would be helpful during his job transition.

    Carson Hawley, who graduated in December, said he was more than happy to donate to the campaign after he heard about it from on Facebook.

    As a first-year student at TCU, Hawley frequented Whataburger because he wasn’t very familiar with the area, and it was one of the only places he knew.

    “I just remember going and him just being a great guy,” Hawley said about Sneed. “He’d start a conversation with you and talk to you the whole time you were there. Just a very personable person and very open to all students, and whoever wanted to have a conversation.”

    Hawley described Sneed as genuine people person.

    “It just shows how the power of being nice to people can really, really help you when you’re not really expecting it,” he said.

    Geibel hoped to raise about $100, but news of the campaign spread on social media, and students and alumni have donated more than $2,000, she said.

    “The first day it was at $500 almost,” Geibel said. “And the next day, it went to $700, and then it hit $1,000 that night.”

    Geibel said she wanted the gift to be a surprise, but mentioned she doesn’t mind raising awareness about the effort.

    “The more money we can get the better,” she said.

    Sneed said he would miss the TCU student crowd the most.

    “I’ve watched half of the kids that grew up here, left TCU and came back just to see me,” he said. “And they look forward to me being here and everything. It’s like, wow, it’s hard to leave them.”

    Click here to contribute to Sneed’s going-away gift. Feb. 24 is the last day to donate.