As the snow fell and the number of stranded motorists mounted near Highway 280 near Birmingham, Alabama, the owner and workers of a Chick-fil-A restaurant opened their doors to feed and shelter those put out by the storm at no charge and with no strings attached.
On January 28, store owner Mark Meadows decided to close his Chick-fil-A store for the day because employees were having trouble getting to work and business was bound to be slow as people avoided unnecessary travel. However, the weather had other ideas for Meadows and his employees.
After leaving, several of his employees returned to the store saying that the roads were nearly impassable and many other motorists were already stranded on the side of the road, some for seven and eight hours already.
“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 Fox News’ Todd Starnes. “It was a parking lot as far as I could see.”
Some of the stranded drivers just abandoned their cars and ended up at the Chick-fil-A to take shelter.
From there, Meadows and his staff decided to lend a kindness to all those stranded motorists. They jumped to their stations and cooked up some 200 sandwiches, then threw on their cold weather gear, trudged out to the highway, and began to hand out food and water to the stranded motorists.
“The meal was a gift–no strings attached,” Starnes reported.
So, why the generosity? It’s in the company’s mandate, Pitt said.
“This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit,” she said. “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.”
The store also refused to sell anything that day. Everything they did that day was for public service.
“We’re not open for business,” Pitt said. “We’re just feeding people who are hungry.”
Chick-fil-A came under the national spotlight in 2012 as millions of Americans supported the company when same-sex marriage advocates attacked COO Dan Cathy for his publicly-stated Christian views. The controversy helped push the restaurant chain’s sales to $4.6 billion in 2012.