Ah Chick-Fil-A, you never cease to amuse me.
For over six months I have been watching them erect a Chick-Fil-A right outside my local mall. I have heard people spouting their love for the chicken sandwiches and begging March, and the grand opening, to get here.
Most people in this town are probably unaware of the amount of chicken sandwich money that gets funneled into numerous anti-gay hate groups. Each time I heard someone say with zeal that they could barely wait a moment longer for their wonderful chicken, my skin literally crawled.
I am not one for confrontation. Not the kind that could get physical anyway. And I really dislike debating an issue with people that clearly need to argue and win, not debate real points. So my distaste for both the new business and it’s future patrons went largely understated.
Today someone made a comment regarding the tents set up outside of the new Chick-Fil-A in town and we all wondered why someone would actually camp out over night to attend the grand opening tomorrow. Was a $2.99 chicken sandwich worth sleeping in a tent on a freezing night? Clearly that couldn’t be all that was going on.
Some people mentioned perhaps there was a protest happening. However no one mentioned rainbow tents or police activity, so I figured my gay comrades in the area had not ambushed. Not yet anyway.
Assuming still that people were camping out for some fabulous chance at chicken, I decided to take it into my own hands and inform my tent friends that the chicken they are coveting will be paid for by money that eventually will end up in the hands of some hate spewing anti-gay group.
I talked to a few people in town prior to my decision to go there, and even though they are very supportive of me and all gay people’s rights, they had not heard the Chick-Fil-A stories. With just a couple of sentences to them, I was able to get an entire group of people to boycott that chain and I hadn’t even left the house yet.
When my partner and I showed up, the parking lot to Chick-Fil-A was barricaded by police tape and there were twenty or more tents set up. I wasn’t sure what the tape was for and thought maybe it was to keep cars out. I figured I was not supposed to enter the area, but the tape was no challenge for my stepping over skills.
We first spoke with a gentleman camper we encountered. He explained that they were holding a contest, and the first 100 people to spend 24 hours out in the freezing cold in a tent would be eligible to win a chicken sandwich a week for a year. Hardly worth it to me, but to the few homeless people I saw there, I was deeply hoping they would win.
People started looking strangely at us, but up to this point it hadn’t really hit me that we weren’t really supposed to be there. So, we muddled our way up to the building and decided to go inside. Right inside the door was the press just finishing up an interview with some Chick-Fil-A big wigs in pressed gold shirts, Beaver Cleaver haircuts and fancy name tags. We simply wormed our way through them and into the dining area, unscathed and with no questions.
I am unsure who all of the patrons were. Some I recognized as local school band members there for the “event” and others I have no idea. Since the establishment was not actually open for business, I do not know how they got the privilege to be in there eating and drinking from what I heard was “on the house”. Perhaps they just walked in like us.
We made a quick beeline through the dining room dropping flyers on each table full of people. I made sure not to look anyone in the eye and avoid the employees. I could feel the eyes on me, but I continued my mission quickly and without incident. We walked out the same door we came in and back over the police tape.
I am unsure if our flyers fell into the hands of anyone that will make a difference. But after seeing how easily good people that just didn’t know the truth were willing to boycott the hate after only a few minutes of conversation, I can only assume, and hope, someone with that flyer is thinking the same thing.
I think we may go back tomorrow.
Echo resides in northern New Jersey with her wife and the two youngest of their five children. You can visit her blog at dysphoricallyspeaking.blogspot.com.