Subway Employee Jared Has to Clarify, “No, Not that One.”
TRENTON, NJ—Every Sunday, in the basement of Saint Mary’s Communion of Hope, the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous meets to discuss their struggles. Once this 6 P.M. meeting adjourns, the circle of folding chairs is rearranged into the unmistakable shape of a $5 Footlong and the Jareds arrive. After Subway spokesman Jared Fogle plead guilty to possessing child pornography and paying for sex with minors, all Subway-affiliated men named Jared have been met with an influx of people asking, “are you THAT Jared?”
An exceptionally high population of both Jareds and Subway storefronts has made this issue inescapable in Trenton, New Jersey. Trenton resident and Subway general manager Jared Focal, 42, has had it especially hard since Fogle’s 2015 conviction. While he used to relish being mistaken for his idol, he now suffers daily interrogation from concerned customers.
As the FBI raided Jared Fogle’s Indiana home on July 7th 2015, Jared Focal was blowing out 36 birthday candles on top of a mountain of fresh Subway cold cuts. Instead of opening his presents that night, he frantically tore down the cutouts of Fogle that had populated the store’s small sitting area, as well as his personal shrine to the now-disgraced spokesman. Since that day, Focal has not been able to enjoy a tuna on Italian Herb & Cheese in peace.
Friends and family begged Focal to quit his job at Subway and end the onslaught of people mistaking him for the convicted sex offender. However, despite the pain, he couldn’t give up his employee discount. It wasn’t until an angry customer mistook Focal for Fogle and screamed until all underage patrons were vacated from the premises that Focal began to see that his love for Subway was taking a toll on him and everyone around him. He now describes this event as his rock bottom.
Soon after, Focal was contacted by another traumatized Subway employee, Jared Fogelle, who was in search of support. The two realized that there was a community of men who were deeply affected by the events of 2015. Focal and Fogelle found upwards of forty men named Jared who felt personally impacted by the backlash against Fogle but unable to abandon their jobs at Subway.
Now, the Jareds have found community, friendship, and mutual support. Whether they need a buddy to split a sub with or someone to comfort them after being “Fogle’d,” there’s always a Jared on speed dial. The weekly meetings offer solace and discounted dinner for this ragtag gang, framed by a banner bearing their group slogan: “We’re the Real Victims.”