A Nashua Chick-Fil-A restaurant will be sponsoring New Hampshire Pride Fest.
Ryan Manseau, the senior director of Pride Fest, told WBZ-TV he was handing out fliers at the Pheasant Lane Mall recently to promote his event and noticed a man who appeared to be a Chick-Fil-A manager holding one.
The chain has a restaurant in the mall and its CEO’s opposition to gay marriage started a national furor last month. Manseau said he approached the man, bracing for a verbal confrontation. He turned out to be the franchise operator, Anthony Piccola, who agreed to help sponsor the event and to serve Chick-Fil-A sandwiches there.
The fast food restaurant of a thousand lands is the work of Erik Devriendt, the owner/operator of this Chick-fil-A since June 2011. Since moving to Richmond in 2006, Devriendt has wielded his vocational skills to address the needs of Richmond’s refugee population: namely, steady and life-giving employment. Including Jirom, Devriendt has employed some 20 refugees for his 67-employee team, often receiving referrals from Commonwealth Catholic Charities, the local resettlement agency. The agency helps with paperwork and training, but Devriendt is not incented financially for hiring refugees. He simply wanted to “help them in the most tangible way possible, so we stepped up to the plate and took a swing.”
… All of these efforts flow out of Devriendt’s Christian commitments, ones deeply embedded in Chick-fil-A culture. Founded in 1946 by Southern Baptist businessman S. Truett Cathy, the Atlanta-based franchise’s stated goal is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.” Hospitality, customer service, and a 6-day workweek reflect Cathy’s desire to incorporate biblical values into the workplace. So does president Dan Cathy’s recent comment about the traditional family, which has drawn ire from Chicago politicians and support from Billy Graham and Mike Huckabee. The latter’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day is expected to draw over 500,000 extra customers today to the company’s 1,600 restaurants. But Devriendt says the recent imbroglio hasn’t changed his goals. “We appreciate all of our customers and are delighted to serve them at any time,” he says.
Eat mor chikin, says I.
UPDATE: An e-mail from a friend in the Washington, DC, area:
At our closest Chick-fil-A, the line for Drive-Thru wrapped all around the building and trailed out the parking lot. The parking lot itself is so jammed that people are parking in the mall lot and walking over. Inside the restaurant, it’s absolutely jammed. A cheerful crowd, perhaps as surprised and pleased as I am.
It was kind of an amazing moment, to see that there are so many people who agree with this stand. You can feel all alone and outnumbered, the way the media portrays it, and like it’s hopeless and no one is listening. This was hopeful. An experience of community that you rarely have.