BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A Chick-fil-A restaurant in Alabama handed out free food to drivers this week who were stranded in the snowstorm that blanketed a significant area of the South.
Owner Mark Meadows, who operates Chick-fil-A in Birmingham, said that he decided to reach out to motorists after a number of his staff were unable to make it home upon closure of the store and reported scores of stranded drivers. Meadows had closed the store after what had been expected to be a dusting turned into more significant accumulation and sent all of his workers home.
However, after many of them returned to Chick-fil-A, stating that they were unable to get home because of the backup, he decided to lend a helping hand to those who had been stuck in traffic for some time. He himself had also attempted a delivery and ended up giving the food away after not being able to reach his destination.
“It was an opportunity to help,” he told AL.com. “Some people were in their cars for five or six hours.”
The food distribution began on Tuesday afternoon, and continued into Wednesday morning.
“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,” manager Aubrey Pitt told Fox News.
Meadows told reporters that his staff distributed approximately 300 chicken sandwiches on the highway late Tuesday afternoon, and an estimated 1,000 chicken biscuits on Wednesday morning. It took approximately two hours to reach drivers, although the restaurant is only an hour and a half away from the interstate.
Chick-fil-A refused any payment for the sandwiches and biscuits, simply offering them to be a blessing.
“It made me feel real good, especially with people being so appreciative,” Meadows told AL.com of the experience. “It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.”
Chick-fil-A also offered motorists a place to stay for the night as one of the local hotels was filling up. Meadows himself spent the night at the store.
Pitts said that while there were those that were taken back that the restaurant was giving away food and thus losing profit, Chick-fil-A is more focused on compassion than cash.
“This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit,” Pitts stated. “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.”
The distribution continued until noon on Wednesday.