In those days, Chick-fil-A consisted of tiny little shops that were only in malls. (This was before malls had huge food courts.) The advertising slogan was, "The Taste Worth Shopping For." When I went to work I wore black dress pants, a short-sleeve white dress shirt, a black bow tie, a bright red apron, and a hat like this (except, of course, that ours said, "Chick-fil-A")
At that time I didn't know that Chick-fil-A was a Christian-owned company. I wasn't a committed Christ-follower, so it wasn't really on my radar. I knew my manager was a Christian. I knew that he and his wife and his son worked together--hard--to run that small, but very busy restaurant.
And I knew that I didn't have to work on Sunday. That wasn't important to me for religious reasons, but it sure was nice. Except for driving a school bus, that's the last job I've ever had where I knew I had at least one guaranteed day off.
I've enjoyed watching Chick-fil-A grow over the years. Those tiny little mall shops have given way to great big stand-alone stores with large dining rooms and humongous play areas for children. The employees no longer look like 1950s soda jerks. But the chicken sandwich tastes exactly the same, and it's still my favorite fast food.
The whole Chick-fil-A controversy of the past several weeks has really broken my heart. The accusations ... the misunderstandings ... the distortions ... the venom.
I'm not going to rehash the whole controversy here, nor am I going to add to what's already been said. I'm just going to point out something that I think has gotten lost in all the rhetoric.
Chick-fil-A's Christian values don't just mean that the president has taken a controversial stand on a hot-button issue. Since the beginning, their Christian values have included the following:
- They close on Sunday--which, like I said, is a plus for all Chick-fil-A employees, whether they're religious or not
- They operate debt-free! What an amazing business practice. I wonder where our economy would be if more businesses and private citizens operated that way?
- They stress excellent customer service. Have you ever placed an order at a fast food restaurant and felt like the person behind the counter just saw you as a nuisance? Not at Chick-fil-A.
- They give back to the community. And yes, I know that Chick-fil-A's bashers are quick to point out the conservative pro-family organizations they support. But that's far from the extent of their contributions. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, had a passion for mentoring the next generation. His Win Shape Foundation provides foster homes, summer camps, and all kinds of life-changing programs for young people. And they make other positive contributions as well.
These are such good things. I would think most people of whatever persuasion would admire these things. But they're getting lost in the fray.
One more thing. Pastor Perry Noble has written what I think is a pretty good blog post about this controversy. I like how he challenges both sides. CLICK HERE TO READ IT.