A snowstorm in the South is about as rare as a glass of unsweetened tea at a
church supper. Folks around Birmingham, Ala. weren’t all that worried
though. The storm was only supposed to ‘dust’ the city – not even enough
powder for a Southern snowman.
So when the first snowflakes began to fall, no one paid all that much
attention. But then, the flakes kept falling. Before too long folks in
places like Hoover and Inverness realized it was much more than a dusting.
By that point, it was too late for anyone to do anything.
Icy interstates and highways soon became clogged with cars and trucks.
Thousands of motorists soon found themselves stranded with nowhere to go –
including many stuck on Highway 280.
But a good number of those stranded motorists were able to find shelter in
the storm thanks to the kindness and generosity of Chick-fil-A restaurant
employees and the restaurant’s owner, Mark Meadows.
Once the snow started accumulating, Meadows closed the restaurant and sent
his staff home. But a few hours later, many of them returned – unable to get
to their homes.
“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 me. “It was a parking lot as
far as I could see.”
So Audrey left her car on the side of the interstate and joined a flock of
bundled up drivers trudging through the snow.
“At one point there were more people walking than driving,” she said.
Some of the drivers had been stuck in their cars for nearly seven hours
without any food or water. So the staff of the Chick-fil-A decided to lend a
“We cooked several hundred sandwiches and stood out on both sides of 280 and
handed out the sandwiches to anyone we could get to – as long as we had food
to give out.”
The staffers braved the falling snow and ice, slipping and sliding, as they
offered hot juicy chicken breasts tucked between two buttered buns. And
Chick-fil-A refused to take a single penny for their sandwiches.
The meal was a gift – no strings attached. For the frozen drivers, it was
manna from heaven.
“They were very excited and extremely thankful,” she said. “People were
thankful to get something to put in their stomachs.”
Audrey said people were especially surprised that the sandwiches were free.
Why not make some extra money during the storm? It’s not like anyone could
go to another restaurant. Chick-fil-A had a captive crowd of hungry
customers. So why did they give away their food?
“This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before
you’re worried about money or profit,” Audrey told me. “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.”
Lauren Dango was one of those stranded motorists. She’s known Meadows for
years and she was stunned when she saw him walking from car to car with
“I looked up and I’m like, what is he doing,” Dango told me. “He had a
catering order and it got canceled, so he pulled over and started giving
And if that wasn’t enough, Meadows helped a driver maneuver along the icy
road by pushing a car up an incline.
Dango was so touched by Meadows’ kindness, she sent a letter to
Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters. “Kudos to Mark Meadows for not only
preaching the “second mile” concept, but actually living by it,” she wrote.
It’s no secret that Chick-fil-A was founded by a Christian family. And it’s
no secret that they run their business on biblical values. What happened in
Birmingham is an example of how those biblical values are played out.
“We just wanted to be able to help,” Audrey said. “Yesterday was such a
hopeless situation. We wanted to do something to make people feel a little
bit better. We we’re here. We had food and there were people outside who
needed food. So it just made sense to do something for them.”
But Chick-fil-A’s generosity didn’t stop there.
“We opened up our dining room to anyone who wanted to sleep on a bench or a
booth,” Audrey told me.
And this morning, the weary staff members fired up their ovens and began
preparing chicken biscuits. The only thing that is closed – is Chick-fil-A’s
“We’re not open for business,” she said. ‘We’re just feeding people who are
I’d say the Chick-fil-A team blessed a lot of people in Birmingham – but
that’s not how Audrey sees it.
“It’s a blessing to us to be able to help people,” she said. “It really is.”
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,” Jesus said in the
Gospel of Matthew. “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was
a stranger and you invited me in.”
It was a Sunday school lesson illustrated on a snowy winter day along
Highway 280 in Alabama with a chicken sandwich and a side of waffle fries.
[written by Todd Starnes, host of Fox News & Commentary]
Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”