INDIAN LAND, S.C. — When Zachary Chatham, an Indian Land High School 2016 graduate, started looking for jobs after college, he had a hard time figuring out what was next. He applied for six or seven jobs before the perfect one landed in his lap -- driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile across the country.
“My dad sent me the link and I thought he was joking. He said this is a good job. I was like no way dad!” said Chatham.
Turns out, he was a perfect fit for the job. His great grandfather drove the Wienermobile decades ago.
“I’m a legacy I guess,” he said. “I knew that he worked at Oscar Mayer, but I didn’t know he drove the Wienermobile. Once I applied, I got caught up with my family really well about it.”
In fact, his grandmother told him about a fond memory she had as a child when her dad brought home the giant hot dog truck.
“My grandmother was telling me that her dad brought the Wienermobile home one night and let it stay overnight at his house, so she was like the cool kid in the neighborhood for the day.”
Driving the eye-catching vehicle is rewarding for Chatham. He loves the reactions he gets from people. The honks and waves on the road, the excitement and smiles when people stop by the truck for a look.
“I’ve never seen people reach for their phone so fast in my life. Everyone is always happy to see us.”
The job may sound like a lot of fun, but it’s actually a very competitive position. Chatham beat out 4,000 other applicants for one of just 12 jobs on the Wienermobile team.
As he hit the road for his new adventure, he had one thing on his mind, proposing to his girlfriend, Hannah Fogus.
“Once I got the job, I knew I was going to use it to leverage it for my engagement. What better time than when I’m getting paid to travel, to take her somewhere cool and her not know it’s coming?” he said from his hotel room on the road in Omaha.
When Chatham found out he was assigned to a location near Yellowstone National Park, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to pop the question. He said Fogus had always wanted to visit Yellowstone so on his day off, with permission from his bosses, he drove the Wienermobile to Yellowstone and asked the most important question.
“As soon as she turned around, I just dropped down on my knee and she turned around and just stared at me. I thought she was going to say no at first.”
Fogus was just speechless and totally caught by surprise. Chatham said he’d been trying to fool her for months by saying he was too busy to buy a ring.
The pictures captured by friends who were in on the surprise are priceless. The couple’s engagement sparked an idea for the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile team. Why not drive the mobile hot dog to celebrate other special occasions with fans? You can now request the Wienermobile show up at your engagement or wedding by filling out a request on the website.
Chatham and Fogus haven’t nailed down a wedding date yet but Chatham said they are talking about planning something for spring 2022 in Charleston, SC. We don’t know if the Wienermobile will be on hand for the big day, but he said he’s trying to bring it to the Charlotte area in November when he returns to his family home in Indian Land for Thanksgiving.
You can follow along with Chatham's adventures on his Instagram account ZachNCheesin.