When Mark Meadows, owner of a Chick-fil-a in Birmingham, Alabama, noticed that snow was beginning to stick to the ground – a rare instance for that part of the country – he closed the restaurant and sent his workers home.
However, it wasn’t until many of them returned hours later, unable to get home because the roads were so bad, that he realized just how dire the situation was:
“Our store is about a mile and a half from the interstate and it took me two hours to get there,” manager Audrey Pitt told me. “It was a parking lot as far as I could see.”
Drivers had been stuck for as many as seven hours without food or water. So, the staff at Chick-fil-a decided to change that:
“We cooked several hundred sandwiches and stood out on both sides of 280 and handed out the sandwiches to anyone we could get to – as long as we had food to give out.”
The staffers braved the falling snow and ice, slipping and sliding, as they offered hot juicy chicken breasts tucked between two buttered buns. And Chick-fil-A refused to take a single penny for their sandwiches.
The meal was a gift – no strings attached.
For the frozen drivers, it was manna from heaven.
For me, the most touching part of this story is the response the manager gave when asked why they didn’t charge for the food. After all, they probably could have made a nice chunk of change due to the high demand that day:
“This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit,” Audrey told me. “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.”
“We’re not open for business,” she said. ‘We’re just feeding people who are hungry.”
To those that live there, this act of kindness, in addition to the many other Good Samaritans helping out this week, is not much of a surprise. Chick-fila is known for being an active member of each community it enters and stepping up to help when its neighbors need it.
When businesses care for their communities like Chick-fil-a does, everybody wins. This attitude is something for which I’m very thankful; it is an attitude I will continue to look for in companies I support, and I hope that you will do the same.http://www.ijreview.com/2014/01/111893-true-southern-hospitality-chick-fil-hands-free-food-drivers-stranded-winter-storm/