In popular culture, Easter is associated with coloured chicken eggs. The symbol of new life “hatching” from its “tomb” makes it an obvious symbol.
However, I recently read a report of a “good news” story that makes another connection between Easter and chickens. The story illustrates how goodwill can transform bad news into a positive news story.
Recently, an ice storm hit the southern United States. (Major snow storms hit a wide swath of the Atlantic provinces as well.) The media in Alabama showed miles of cars stranded on frozen interstate highways. School bus drivers reported students trapped on buses for 24 hours; parents were getting frantic wondering what was happening to their kids.
The owner of Chick-fil-A on Highway 280 in Birmingham closed his restaurant and sent his employees home early. However, they soon discovered they too became victims of the clogged highways and couldn’t get home. Some of the car occupants near the restaurant were already stranded for seven hours.
The manager of the store explained: “Our store is about a mile and a half from the interstate and it took me two hours to get there. It was a parking lot as far as I could see. At one point there were more people walking than driving.”
Seeing the conditions, the owner started up the kitchen stoves and his employees began to prepare chicken sandwiches. They headed out to distribute hot meals to stranded motorists on both sides of Highway 280.
Some of the drivers tried to pay, but the staff was instructed not to take a penny. They explained to the occupants: “This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit. 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.”
In addition, the staff helped to push cars off the roads, up hills and whatever else they could do. Then they kept the restaurant open overnight and invited passengers to come in to warm up. Some of them slept there.
The next morning the staff again prepared hot chicken biscuits for their guests and gave them out freely.
No doubt, the franchise gained a lot of respect and will profit from new and loyal customers. This was definitely an Easter moment in a time of darkness.