Jerry Richardson
Carolina Panthers
℅ Hilton Santa Clara
4949 Great America Pkwy,
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Dear Jerry Richardson,

As a child I consumed Hardee’s hamburgers at an alarming rate. In fact, one summer I was known as “The Hardee’s Kid,” which was highly preferable to “Dipwad,” which I was called for many other summers, and the other three seasons, as well, right up through October of 2008 when I became known as “Chewels” for reasons I’ll explain in a follow-up letter.

I used to ride my bicycle around just screaming “Hardee’s” at the top of my lungs for months on end. I would often throw wrapped Hardee’s hamburgers over the wall of the local swimming pool for whomever wanted one. That was known as a “Hardee’s Alert.”

“Don’t you want to come swimming, Hardee’s Kid?” a disembodied voice would shout.

“No, I know my place in the world. Enjoy.”

“Cool. Got any fries, Dipwad?”

“No.” Then I would peddle away.

If I were at a sad movie, I wouldn’t pull out a tissue. I would pull out a Hardee’s hamburger and dab my eyes with it. Then start eating it.

I was a Hardee’s restaurant one Halloween. A big cardboard box, detailed by hand with markers. I also put that costume back on at Christmas and wore it to talk to “Santa Claus.” He didn’t get it. There was nothing to get. Other than joy. The guy was unprofessional. Asking where my parents were. And would I be getting off his lap before St. Patrick’s Day? I was 14. I could handle myself just fine. Joyless fat fuck.

Anyway, I loved football almost as much as I loved Hardee’s. But I developed a condition known as “Hardee’s heart.” Took one for the team, so to speak. Thought riding the bike around screaming would keep me tip-top, but it did not. So for me, making a game-winning play on Super Bowl Sunday is not in the cards. I will not be a football hero, but for many years, I was a Hardee’s hero. And that is a feat that will never be commemorated on a trading card.

Now, I realize you have nothing to do with Hardee’s anymore (other than being the FOUNDER) By the way, the company who runs Hardee’s now doesn’t know shit about the true Hardee’s Experience. I’m sure you’ve forgotten more than they will ever learn about Hardee’s culture. Hardee’s values. Hardee’s Racing. I can’t even look at that star logo today without puking all over myself and strangers.

I also know that you’re, “really busy with the Super Bowl.” And that you’ve “heard it all before.” And are wondering, “What your angle is?” Etc.

It’s pretty simple. I estimate I’ve spent more than $2,594,333.39 on Hardee’s food, apparel, books, you name it. If you had some guy hunched over manicuring your lawn in those days, trimming some tulips, looking longingly at your spouse and vehicle, but always behaving himself, while sweating like a goddamned pig in the Carolina heat, chances are, I helped pay for part of that.

Additionally, many of my vacations were based around Hardee’s locations. Trying to secure new Hardee’s toys. I was married in a Hardee’s. I bribed a manager once so that I could have one of my many surgeries inside a Hardee’s that was closed for the evening. Once, when I knew I was about to be fired from my job, I turned down four-months severance for a simple sit-down meal at Hardee’s and fifteen minutes of my boss’s time. The conversation was illuminating, after which I was terminated.

So allow me to get to my point. I don’t want two Super Bowl tickets. Not even for free. I’m not some cliché sad sack. Besides, I can not travel on an airplane, primarily due to my over-enjoyment of Hardee’s food. Much pleasure has been taken from me, by my own decisions and passions.

Here’s where you come in. I will be watching the game, like everyone else. I only want a simple gesture of acknowledgement. I have FedExed vintage Hardee’s paper napkins to your hotel. When the camera inevitably fixes its gaze upon you, up in some luxury box, I would like to see that vintage Hardee’s napkin tucked into your collar, as if you’d just enjoyed a Big Deluxe, much like these fellows, who practically raised me. (Guess this must have come out before Mt. St. Helens erupted, there’s no way they could have predicted the 57 deaths.)

I want Jim Nantz to ask, “Is that is a Hardee’s napkin in Mr. Richardson’s collar?” And I want Phil Simms to try to answer, and then I want Nantz to ask him to be quiet and just take in the moment with the rest of America.

Perhaps, much simpler would be if Mike Tolbert scores, could he grab a Hardee’s hamburger from a cheerleader or inside the foam around the goalpost and take a bite and scream, “This is for you Hardee’s… Adult”?

Or could Cam Newton “dab” after a score, and tucked in the crook of his arm would be a Hardee’s hamburger. Perhaps he could chew it and then drop it from his mouth into a fan’s mouth instead of doing the free ball thing. Too much to ask? Some kind of endorsement problems that would cause? Okay? Maybe we stick to Tolbert then.

Thanks Jerry. I knew I could count on you.

Panthers 28
Broncos 24