Wednesday, 08 August 2012

The Chick-fil-A Bully and His Victim

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On August 1, legions of Americans from across the country came out in defense of Chick-fil-A, the fabulously successful fast food chain that became the object of left-wing hostility when its owner and CEO, Dan Cathy, expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage.

However, not everyone who sought out the nearest Chick-fil-A restaurant intended to support it.

In Tuscon, Arizona, a man named Adam Smith videotaped himself berating a 26-year-old Chick-fil-A female employee named “Rachel” (shown).

But before he actually spoke to the woman, Smith recorded himself as saying: “People have to have their Chick-fil-A anti-gay breakfast sandwich.” He added that it “always tastes better when it’s full of hate.” 

When he arrived at the window, he informed the unsuspecting employee that her place of employment was a “hateful organization.” She in turn explained that the Christian-based organization aspires to treat all its customers well. 

Yet Smith continued, insisting that it supplies “money to hate groups."

As the employee handed Smith his beverage — a cup of water that is free of charge — she refused to compromise Chick-fil-A’s commitment to quality customer service. “It’s my pleasure to serve you always,” she stated.

Smith’s wrath did not abate. “Of course I’m glad that I can take a little money from Chick-fil-A and maybe less money to hate groups,” he replied. “I don’t know how you can live with yourself and work here. I don’t understand it. This is a horrible corporation with horrible values.”

When the employee bade Smith to have a “nice day,” he assured her that he would, for he had just done “something purposeful.” He explained, as he drove off, that he was “a nice guy.” Then he added that he was a heterosexual that “just can’t stand the hate.”

Smith’s video went viral. But it was met with largely negative responses.

“Hey that’s great,” wrote one Facebook poster, “hassle some poor slob in a menial position trying to make ends meet at the drive through window. Way to go Adam, you really ‘did something purposeful’ there, you jackass.”

Another person said: “We need to know where this person works and flood the company with phone calls and email demanding that he be fired.”

One person commented: “Talk about a major case of backfire, LOL…stories like these continue to show who the real haters are.”

Even those who agree with Smith’s cause acknowledged that he was in the wrong in his methods. “For the record,” one female asserted, “I agree this is bullying. I do like that he went and got a free water though. I would have gone, gotten a free water, and had just said, ‘I’m here to support Gay rights and protest against Chick-fil-a’s giving money to hate groups.’ Period. And driven away. That’s it. His statements are ridiculous and the poor girl!” 

Perhaps no one reacted to it more negatively than his employer, Vante, a medical device manufacturing company that is located in Tuscon. Smith, who served as the company’s CFO, was swiftly terminated the following day.

Vante released a statement assuring the public that Smith was “no longer an employee of our company.” Among other things, the statement said that Vante “expect[s] our company officers to behave in a manner commensurate with their position and in a respectful fashion that conveys these values of civility with others.”

After the sea of negative reaction to his first video, apparently Smith felt compelled to post a second. Yet this time, the Chick-fil-A employee — who has only agreed to release her first name, Rachel — was the object, not of his hostilities, but of his remorse.

“Rachel,” Smith begins, “I am so very sorry for the way I spoke to you on Wednesday. You handled my frustrating rant with such dignity and composure. Every time I watch the video I am blown away by really the beauty in what you did, and your kindness, and your patience with me.”

Rachel was not ready to meet with Smith before.

Yet she is now.

Speaking to Smith’s videoed apology, Rachel told on August 7 that she is “definitely interested in” meeting with Smith. “I appreciate that he came forward,” she asserted. However, she now wants a chance to speak with Smith personally in order to “see if he was sincere.” Rachel also wants to “let him know why I handled” their unpleasant encounter “the way I did and not take legal action, which a lot of people told me I should do.”

Rachel was as composed and kind during her interview with Fox as she was while being assailed by Smith. Even though she was bullied, she nevertheless refused to consider legal action against Smith (assuming there was a basis for such action) because she didn’t think that there was any “reason to drag him through the mud any more than he has been.”

Many observers have been struck by the glaring contrast between Rachel and Smith. The decorum with which Rachel has conducted herself throughout this ordeal is the decorum that customers have come to expect from the employees of Chick-fil-A.

And it is conduct that is in keeping with the restaurant’s Christian character.

Rachel identifies her attitude succinctly: “I’m Christian and God tells us to love thy neighbor.” 

But Rachel clarified the supposition that Chick-fil-A imposes some sort of litmus test upon its employees:

I’d really like to know if he [Smith] could separate the issue [of same-sex marriage] from me and the company. The workers have nothing to do with the political beliefs with people in the corporation.

Rachel asserted that she most definitely does not “want to be part of that puzzle.” 

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