Last Wednesday afternoon, a homeless man came into a Chick-fil-A in Birmingham, AL, looking for something to eat. It was cold outside, and the man needed warmth, too.
It is a common occurrence, and one most stores handle by showing the person the door. Not Mark Meadows, who owns this restaurant. Instead, Meadows welcomed the man.
A customer, Andrea Stoker, was eating in the restaurant with her son at the time. She took the photo at the top and posted it on Chick-fil-A’s corporate Facebook page.
“My son and I were at the location on Highway 280 in Birmingham, AL,” wrote Stoker, “when a man came in to escape the 35 degree temps and strong winds with all of his earthly possessions strapped to his back.”
She expected the store to ask him to leave, but they didn’t. Instead, she saw the store owner talking with the man.
“Most businesses would force him out, but I watched as the manager walked up to him and asked if he could do anything for him. Before the man could even answer, the manager asked if he had a pair of gloves and walked to the table at which he’d been sitting and picked up his own. As he handed the man his gloves, he asked another employee to get him something to eat.”
“Sometimes,” Meadows told AL.com “we have individuals walk in the store that it’s obvious need some help. Yesterday at around 3:30 p.m. a gentleman walked in–I don’t know if he is homeless or not–but he walked up to me and asked if there was anything he could do to earn a little food.”
“I asked him if he had a pair of gloves,” said Meadows, “because he kept rubbing his hands together.”
This isn’t the first time Meadows’s store has been in the news. Last January, there was a massive snowstorm that hit, and rather unexpectedly. The timing trapped motorists who were trying to beat the storm home on the icy Alabama roads. Meadows fed those close to his store on the highway. He and his team delivered hundreds of chicken sandwiches and biscuits.
“I don’t particularly like the attention or the notoriety or the popularity or whatever else,” he said. Meadows is quick to point out that he didn’t do what he did for the media attention. “I just did the right thing,” he said. “I’m simply awe struck about all this attention.”
“Our corporate purpose explains it all. Our purpose,” said Meadows, “is ‘to Glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”