As a resident of arguably one of the coldest states in the lower 48, I can attest to the fact that winter can be miserable. Here, we can go weeks at a time with temperatures solidly below zero, and days on end of relentless, howling north winds. As we skate—almost literally—into work or school every day, we hope . . . we pray . . . we yearn for that glorious, balmy light at the end of the tunnel. It finally does come, and the beauty of summer makes most of us forget that our lush, green backyards ever remotely resembled Siberia, or that it will again soon. Fall comes around, and before long we’re battening down the hatches all over again; hunkering down for yet another winter that typically shocks the rest of the nation. We’re used to it—we just get through it. We grin and bear it.
Some people aren’t so used to it, and sometimes it’s pretty neat to see what happens when they’re faced with it.
Unfortunately for my friends in the South, they’ve recently been granted a brief excursion into winter and all that this dreadful weather entails. For people near Birmingham, Alabama, a taste of our Minnesota weather meant gridlocked roads, and long hungry waits in cold cars. I’m sure this weather undoubtedly brought out a lot of bad in people, but it also brought out some amazing good.
Workers at a fast food joint near Highway 280 in Alabama looked around at the empty restaurant and the hundreds of stranded travelers nearby, and decided to take action. They whipped up quite a few of their famous chicken sandwiches, and braved the cold to hand out the food to the stranded drivers . . . for free. As if passing on making an absolute killing by selling sandwiches to a trapped crowd of cold, hungry commuters wasn’t enough, the restaurant opened its doors to anyone who needed a place to stay for the night, and served them breakfast—again for free—the next day. Somewhere in the midst of all this generosity, another worker found time to help a motorist push his car up hill.
So . . . why?
One employee puts it well in a statement to a Fox News reporter:
“This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit. We were just trying to follow the model that we’ve all worked under for so long and the model that we’ve come to love. There was really nothing else we could have done but try to help people any way we could . . . It’s a blessing to us to be able to help people. It really is. . . ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,’ Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew. ‘I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.’”
Doubtless everyone remembers how this same chain was once described in vastly different terms. “Hateful-A;” “Tastes like hate” and “Chick Full of Hate” were just a few of the endearing remarks reserved for—you’ve probably guessed it by now—Chick-fil-A.
Chick-fil-A, a restaurant known for its firm foundation in Christian principles, was infamously vilified in 2012 following revelations that its WinShape Foundation gives money to pro-traditional marriage organizations.
Indeed, it’s funny how quickly some people turn support of traditional marriage into hatred towards homosexuals. What’s even more interesting is that Chick-fil-A nor any of the organizations to which WinShape donated advocate for the mistreatment or criminalization of homosexuals anywhere in the world. In fact, they’re first in line to condemn in. Exodus International—one of the aforementioned organizations—had this to say:
“. . . We stand with the LGBT community both in spirit, and when necessary, legally and physically, when violence rears its head in Uganda, Jamaica or anywhere else in the world.
Chick-fil-A didn’t, nor does it, support hatred towards homosexuals and pro-gay marriage advocates. They just simply disagree with them based upon a deeply held religious belief.
Following the revelation of their supported organizations, the company and its many stores weathered the often-hateful protests that followed with grace, never once wavering. Rather, they continued on in the same spirit upon which the company was founded, continuing to strive for excellence and uphold principle.
To most of us, the Birmingham traffic jam is just another story buried in the headlines. To this Chick-fil-A, the act was nothing particularly special—just a chance to follow through on the Biblical premises that governs the company’s foundation. To us, it ought to be a real lesson in what a simple selfless act can do to show true colors. It’s indeed far louder than protestors’ disgraceful signs, vandalism, and in-your-face displays.
Doubtless many will conclude that this rather incredible act of selflessness and kindness was an anomaly in an otherwise vast sea of bigotry that is the Chick-fil-A restaurant network. I’ll leave the reader with a final thought:
In the film Remember the Titans, there is a heated discussion between the team captain—Gerry, and another player—Julius, in which Gerry reprimands Julius for what he perceives to be a poor attitude. Julius responds simply, “attitude reflects leadership. . . captain.”