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Erica Kriesel of Osawatomie celebrated her birthday Friday, Sept. 6, at the McDonald’s in Paola by picking up one of the 60th anniversary Kansas City Chiefs limited edition Red Friday Flags to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. She also took time to have her picture taken with Miami County Republic Sports Editor Gene Morris, who sported a replica old-fashioned leather helmet and a Jamaal Charles jersey while volunteering to sell the flags.

Selling the Kansas City Chiefs flags on Red Friday at the McDonald’s in Paola to benefit the Ronald McDonald House has become a tradition. This year was the sixth annual Red Friday flag promotion, and it topped them all.

This was my fifth year to volunteer and sell the flags.

When I walked into the lobby of McDonald’s when it opened at 5 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, I could not believe my eyes.

Assistant manager Karen handed me one of eight boxes of the 60th anniversary Kansas City Chiefs flags and there was already a line of people wanting to get their flag.

I sold the first box before I ever got outside of the lobby. One person bought 10 flags. Others were all buying multiple lots of four, five, six and so on.

I always look forward to the event, which is for such a great cause. Having the opportunity to meet so many great Chiefs fans never gets old. The joy on their faces when they get their limited edition flag, sold only on Red Friday prior to the season opener, is just contagious. You just cannot help but smile.

Despite advice from several friends, who said people would make fun of me, I wore a replica of an old leather helmet with the Kansas City Chiefs logo on it.

I have to admit, the helmet looked a bit funny on my head. It was a little big for me and put quite a pointed top on my head.

To my surprise, no one made fun of me. Everyone loved it, so much so, that five people offered to buy it off of me.

I could not sell the helmet while I was selling the Chiefs flags. It was part of my outfit, which also included a throwback, hand-sewn, red home jersey of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.

Erica Kriesel of Osawatomie was celebrating her birthday on Friday. She bought her flag and then stopped to take a picture of me. Kriesel then decided she wanted a picture with me and had a friend snap a shot.

That was a first for me on Red Friday, but it was one of those incredible days.

I have never seen the Red Friday flags sell like that before. I started warning people to tell their friends not to wait too long to get theirs. My first guess was we would be out by 10 a.m. I updated that to 9 a.m.

One person bought 16 flags. That is the most I have ever sold at a single time. My predictions were way off. We sold our last flag at 7:30.

There was one year we had sold out of the Red Friday flags by 10 a.m., but this shattered that record.

I stood on the corner outside of the McDonald’s, waving one of the 60th anniversary flags and went through five of our eight boxes.

Laurie Bancroft and Kristie McMullin also volunteered to sell the flags on Red Friday, and they stood right by the drive-thru entrance. They arrived at 6 a.m. and were quite busy until the last flag was gone.

Red Friday flag day has become a tradition for Laurie and Kristie as well.

I posted several pictures on Facebook commented on the number of people who were trying to buy the helmet. I was shocked.

Minutes after making the post, I got another offer from my friend Stacey and ended up selling the helmet to benefit a charity I do for disabled women. She wanted the helmet for her husband and has always been a great supporter of my charity. I am not sure why, exactly, but she had me sign the football helmet. That was another first for me. It was that kind of a day.

Red Friday was the first time I can ever remember wearing a Kansas City Chiefs jersey so I told friends and coworkers to be ready to get some pictures.

They sure did. It was a fun time and the jersey is headed to the laundry this week. Then it will be time to find the jersey a new home. And, it might be collectible, I mean, it is game-used, sort of, Red Friday flag day-used.

Kansas City, the Chiefs Kingdom of fans and McDonald’s has done a great thing with Red Friday to raise money for a cause that is near and dear to all of us.

To quote play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus, Red Friday flag day was a “Touchdown, Kansas City!”

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