It Isn't Easy Being a Chicken - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Marsha Mays Reporting

It Isn't Easy Being a Chicken

DECEMBER 6, 2006 -- POSTED AT 8:00 P.M. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- It isn't easy being a chicken, or at least a chicken mascot. After being attacked and getting some national attention, the Back Yard Burgers mascot keeps going.

Steven Turnage has been working as a mascot for 20 years now. This past July, Steven was working as Mr. Chicken at the Back Yard Burgers in Searcy when a man drove by and shot him with fireworks.

"He had literally come by and shot me through a steel pipe. What I came to find out is he at shot me, he hit me and then he the eye," says Steven Turnage.

Steven said he loves his job, but being harassed and shot with fireworks made him think twice about being Mr. Chicken.

"It terrified me because I didn't understand what had happened. When the smoke fills up, you can hardly breathe in here," says Turnage.

Steven received national recognition. The incident was mentioned on talk shows like David Letterman and Jeff Foxworthy. But most notably, Steven made an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Talk Show to tell his story and why he chose to continue after the attack.

"When I went to Jimmy Kimmel, they asked me the same question, why in the world didn't I just give up? Well, if everybody gave up for just one negative attitude or negative problem, where would we be? So I had to come back and say I'm not going to give up. I needed to continue on with my job because I love it. I love my job," says Turnage.

The man that shot Steven was later arrested and charged with assault in the second degree. Steven told us being shot with fireworks is definitely the worst attack so far, but it's not the first.

"They got to realize, there's somebody under this mask. There's somebody under the costume, it's a real person and I think they don't realize that. If they had to do the job, I bet they would have a greater respect for somebody," says Turnage.

He says he knows this isn't your normal job, but it's one he is truly passionate for and he hopes to continue for years to come.

"Even though it looks like I flew the coop, I literally try to keep going," adds Turnage.

Mr. Chicken will be dressed in his Santa costume Thursday from 5 to 8 P.M. at the Back Yard Burgers on Southwest Drive for free pictures with Santa. 

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