Why Did the Line of Cars Cross the Road?
To get into the new Chick-fil-a in Bellevue, Washington.
When the first location opened early April, there were tents and overnight campers as you’d expect from those wanting to be part of the “First 100″ and the privilege to eat a free meal for a year. The Seattle area is notoriously liberal so the news media seemed shocked to find the response to Chick-fil-a’s arrival so enthusiastic. Local reporters were there in droves asking provocative questions in light of the overly publicized religious views held by the owner, Dan Cathy. Every report on the opening barely touched on the jobs created but all referred to the restaurant chain as “controversial”. You may recall the 2012 rant that got an Arizona executive fired when his abuse of a polite Chick-fil-a worker went viral. The “Boycott Chick-fil-a in Washington” Facebook page only has 146 likes as of this writing.
The always busy corner of Northeast Eighth Street and 116th Avenue Northeast required local police to direct traffic. The gas station across the street posted strict warning signs about parking there to dash across to their newest neighbor.
Having lived elsewhere and traveled much, I’ve eaten in lots of Chick-fil-a restaurants. None the less, my wife and I were anxious to visit the location now in our area. One Monday night in early June at about 9:30pm my wife thought she’d stop in for a quick bite only to find the lines still extending around the corner on each of the access streets!
A good friend in construction working on a highrise a few blocks away spied a break in the line from their “eye in the sky” vantage point and dashed down to grab some spicy chicken biscuits for the crew. He hasn’t quit raving about it since – or maybe he was just bragging because he was the first in our circle to actually get in the door!
No, these are not homophobes! Quite the contrary. These are freedom loving people who believe everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs so long as they don’t discriminate in employment or business practices. Oh, and they happen to love a great chicken sandwich!
FINALLY, this week I got to sample the local Chick-fil-a for myself. In addition to the great food, I found a restaurant full of cheerful people of all backgrounds working hard to serve customers good, hot, fresh food with a smile. My wife and I ate at the long community table and she noticed the sign on the end of the table which read:
“This table was built by artisans from A Better Way Ministries. The materials used were salvaged from unwanted and abandoned homes. The hands that built it belong to a person who also once felt uwwanted and abandoned.
Love, compassion and grace are powerful tools.”
If you are in Bellevue, Washington and get a craving for some great, hot chicken, be prepared to wait a while. Though the police no longer direct traffic, there is a very pleasant attendant there to keep cars flowing and the line is ALWAYS there – except on Sunday when this Chick-fil-a, like every other in the country. is closed.
Now, can we all just quit being so darned “offended” and just enjoy some good food!?!