When the nation’s largest airport, Atlanta International, essentially shut down due to a power outage leaving flights grounded and thousands of travelers stranded and frustrated, an organization that often gets a lot of flak for its Christian beliefs did what it does best: Showed up and fed people.
On Sunday, following the massive power outage that led many travelers without a place to stay but the airport, the city of Atlanta decided to open the Georgia International Convention Center and shuttle people there. Chick-fil-A jumped into action and served people sandwiches that evening, despite the fact that the company is usually closed every Sunday, a decision founder Truett Cathy made due to his Christian faith and desire to give employees time with their families and a day of rest.
According to Business Insider’s e-mail exchange with spokeswoman Amanda Hanna, Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed, called the company late Sunday night and asked for help. They mobilized immediately, breaking their own company policy.
“It has been a very difficult day for thousands of travelers. And while Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday, our restaurants open occasionally to serve communities in need. We do not make a profit but do what we can to offer comfort to people experiencing hardship.”
While the power outage itself has sparked a myriad of responses, from general frustration of passengers to predictions that this kind of blackout shows America how unprepared it would be in the face of a terrorist attack that manifested this way, stranded travelers seemed grateful for the small act of altruism Chick-fil-A offered by way of their chicken sandwiches.
Thousands stranded in Atlanta on a Sunday evening because of the massive power failure at the airport. @ChickfilA, normally not open on Sunday’s, springs into action to feed them all. That’s incredible. What a company.— Michael Schlact (@michael_schlact) December 18, 2017
This isn’t the first time Chick-fil-A franchises have opened on a Sunday to help others out. Following the terrorist attack at Pulse in Orlando in 2016, Chick-fil-A opened on a Sunday and provided free food for those waiting in line to donate blood for the victims of the attack. They also help people just because they can, Sunday or not. This Alabama owner gave a homeless man a meal and clothing when he wandered into his restaurant to keep warm. Remember when a Houston franchise not only brought food to a couple who ordered it but also helped them escape the flooding waters via jet ski due to the hurricane in Houston last fall?
What’s ironic about all this is Chick-fil-A has gotten so much flak for being closed on Sundays and for operating within their Christian values, yet it’s those very values and guidelines that have propelled them not only to be such a successful company that offers delicious fast food but one that is truly altruistic at its core. It’s almost as if Chick-fil-A is an arm of founder S. Truett Cathy’s Christian faith, offering sustenance, encouragement, and comfort when people need it most.
Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist in Washington, D.C., who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator's Young Journalist Award.
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