Today, Atlanta, Georgia, and the rest of the world lost a very fine and strong example of a Christian man, an ethical business leader and a man of family traditions.
S. Truett Cathy passed away today at the age of 93. He was the founder of Chick-Fil-A, a popular restaurant that, although categorized as fast food, would be better described as good food that is served fast with expediency, consistency and courtesy.
He began his restaurant career in a small building here in Hapeville, Georgia with his brother Ben in 1946. The restaurant was called the Dwarf Grill. It is still in Hapeville today in the same spot as the original. It has been remodeled and expanded, but it is a 24 hour a day diner that closes at midnight on Saturday.
I am an admitted addict myself. I am in one of the chain stores six days a week. I have to have their unsweet tea with lemon daily. Sundays, the stores are closed and I respect and applaud that, but I really miss my tea.
I have to say that no matter which store you visit, you can count on a quality, consistent meal served by people who want to be there.
They never say “your welcome” to any thank you. It is always, “my pleasure.” The employees are efficient and courteous at all times. As well they should be, Chick Fila employees are not just warm bodies put into a position. They are vetted stringently. They are trained to be the best in the business. It is easy to see that whatever the company’s methods are, they are at the cutting edge of the service industry.
Being a regular visitor for years, it is easy to see that the employees are very loyal. The same staff is almost always at work, with a smile, ready to serve the customer. They call me by name and start to fill my order before I even say a word.
In today’s world, that in itself is a success.
S. Truett Cathy was a man of integrity. He has paid forward his success with many charitable endeavors to help those less fortunate.
He believed in giving away free food. It was the cornerstone of his success. When advised against it early in his career, he turned a deaf ear. His policies have resulted in more people trying his product, and with the trying have become hooked.
He was a Christian leader of both his business and family. His son, Dan has continued to be outspoken in his moral values.
When Dan Cathy was quoted in an interview as a supporter of traditional marriage, and stating his own opinion, it caused a great outcry by alternative groups against the company. They called for a boycott.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee called for a day to support Dan Cathy’s right to free speech and a day of support to Chick Fil A.
Conservatives, Christians and believers of the right of the First Amendment flocked to show their support of both Cathy and the company. It was a record breaking day of sales.
The cars were lined around the building, the lobby was full, and it is told that some stores ran out of product due to the unprecedented mass of consumers.
Today we say goodbye to an esteemed Atlanta gentleman. He is now with his beloved brother Ben, who was killed in an airplane crash so long ago.
God bless him and his family, the thoughts and prayers of a city are with you today.