It wasn’t a restaurant that was high on my list. First, there were none around me for many years and secondly, how excited can you get about a chicken sandwich? And then I got married and had kids and took trips and that’s when I really discovered Chick-fil-A. Stopping to eat with five little kids can be daunting enough for Dad to be tempted to tell everyone, “We’ll eat when we get to Grandma’s!” Even if that promised meal is 200 miles away.
But my good wife and Georgian Lindsay knew about a place that wouldn’t be so horrible. So we began scheduling our lunch breaks around finding a Chick-fil-A. The first thing we do is head for the safe, fun, clean, playground. All that pent-up energy is released so quickly, you can hear the WOOOOSH. It has something for all ages and even the baby can crawl around in a safe area.
Daddy goes off to order the food and, because they are awesome, some nice young lady will bring our food to us instead of making us wait in line. While we eat, someone comes and asks us if we’d like refills on our drinks. They might even remove some of the trash from our table.
The Christian kindness is so thick in your average branch of this restaurant it’s like the humidity of the outside air in this mostly southern restaurant chain. We know that the owners of this privately held company are Christians. What is obvious is that most of their employees are too. Do they send recruiters to every Baptist youth group in the south? Is sure seems like it. In my town where the average fast food establishment struggles to find the toothless and neck-tattooed to work for them, Chick-fil-a seems to attract only the freshest-faced, warmest young people.
The managers talk to the customers like a kindly uncle or grandfather. The women act like they are feeding their own children. And every store is packed, morning, noon and night. I guarantee that every store has at least one men’s Bible study meeting there each morning.
This culture has not gone unnoticed. The New York Times covered the controversial arrival of a restaurant opening in Manhattan.
“In recent days, the complicated politics of urban consumerism have been playing out most visibly, with the arrival of Chick-fil-A, a totem of red-state habits, in New York City. Created by a conservative Christian child of public housing, S. Truett Cathy, in Georgia, in the mid-20th century, Chick-fil-A has come under fire during the past few years over comments made by the founder’s son Dan Cathy, the company’s president, in opposition to same-sex marriage. Those remarks followed revelations that the company’s foundation had donated considerable sums of money to groups working to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. Advocates began boycotting the chain and tried to stop new franchises from opening across the country.”
Controversial? Lots of people—most people in fact—are opposed to same-sex marriage. What I think is that the pagans understand that this restaurant, their patrons, employees are more radical than even that issue.
Something is happening in the simple cooking and distribution of good fare that far exceeds a few high-level people’s personal political views. What is happening is the sure and steady expansion of God’s Kingdom, one sweet tea, one kind act, one smiling face at a time.
Would that all of our Christian businesses were so palpably God-honoring that the pagans had to boycott them even as the multitudes flock to them for the quality, value, service and yes, even love.