Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jared 'the Subway Guy' Fogle shares story with young Heart Heroes

Jared Fogle, better known as “the Subway Guy,” gets a group hug from children gathered at an American Heart Heroes picnic Tuesday evening in Spring Hill.


Jared Fogle, better known as “the Subway Guy,” gets a group hug from children gathered at an American Heart Heroes picnic Tuesday evening in Spring Hill.

SHADY HILLS — Hailey Snyder wasn't impressed, even when the fat pants came out.

"I told her he might know the Jonas Brothers," said her dad, Gordon Snyder, as he and his wife, Tracey, and 6-year-old Hailey ate sandwiches with Jared "the Subway Guy" Fogle.

The Zephyrhills family was among about 30 who showed up Tuesday evening at a picnic for the American Heart Association's Heart Heroes, a group for kids who have conquered cardiovascular diseases.

Hailey was born with tetralogy of Fallot, a condition that results in a narrowed or obstructed pulmonary valve and enlarged heart. When she was 3 months old, she had open-heart surgery that left a scar that stretches from the bottom of her neck to right above her belly button.

"She's not ashamed of her scar," said her mother. Hailey, whose favorite subjects are art and physical education, leads a fairly normal life but sometimes tires during physical activity.

"She says she has to sit down and relax," her mother said.

The program gives Hailey and the other kids a chance to be kids, with fun activities throughout the year. Those age 7 and up get to attend Camp Boggy Creek, a medically safe camp staffed with volunteer doctors and nurses.

Fogle, 32, became Subway's pitchman a decade ago after losing 245 pounds by eating only off the sandwich shop's menu. The Indianapolis resident was in town to promote the Tampa Bay Start! Heart Walk set for Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. During the week, he took some time to picnic with the kids at the Rotary Concourse Pavilion and tell them what he calls "my story."

As rain from Tropical Depression Ida pelted the pavilion's metal roof, Fogle took his old 60-inch waist jeans out of a plastic bag and unfurled them before his young audience.

He told them how his obesity problem had its roots in a childhood of junk food and video games, which eventually caused him to balloon to 425 pounds by the time he was in college.

"Can you imagine how hard that must have been on my heart?"

He created his own diet of Subway sandwiches without cheese or oils and shrank to 190 pounds in less than a year. Restaurant executives found out about his success and created a national ad campaign.

Now he works full time promoting the sandwich chain and other health-related causes.

During dinner, he said he realizes how fortunate he was as a child to have been born without a heart condition. The extra weight would surely have been deadly.

"I made a lot of poor decisions," he told the kids.

After dinner, he participated in an ice breaker game with the children called "Either Or" in which players line up based on preferences in various categories.

"Cheese pizza or veggie pizza?" asked Pepper Adair, director of the Heart Heroes program in Florida. "FSU or Florida Gator?"

Afterward, they posed for photos with Jared and piled on in a group hug.

Jeffrey Bridges, 9, of Spring Hill, said he'd never heard of Jared the Subway Guy before Tuesday.

Fogle took the lack of name recognition among the younger set in stride. After all, these kids weren't even born when he appeared in his first commercial.

"I was at an event with SpongeBob," he said. "They went crazy when they brought out SpongeBob."

Lisa Buie can be reached at or (813) 909-4604.

Fast Facts

Heart Heroes

For information about the American Heart Association's Heart Heroes program, visit

To read Jared Fogle's blog, visit

Jared 'the Subway Guy' Fogle shares story with young Heart Heroes 11/11/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:55am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]