Washington DC, August 2, 2012,– As Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day wrapped up Wednesday evening, it took a long time for the dust and feathers to settle.
Almost 700,000 people signed up for Mike Huckabee’s event on Facebook, and from all reports they made good on their promise to stand up for free speech and religious freedom by eatin’“mo chickin.’”
The event was a record setter, according to a statement from Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A’s executive vice president of marketing, who said:“While we don’t release exact sale numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day.”
“We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country,” Robinson said.“We congratulate local Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators and their team members for striving to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality.”
Word that the fast-food chain had set a record leaked out unofficially on Wednesday evening, when mega-church pastor Rick Warren tweeted:“@DanCathy just called me.#ChickFilA has already set a world record today, with 7 more hrs to go in the West.#OutOfChicken”
Supporters lined the blocks around fast-food joints and car traffic took up stretches of road, as supporters waited patiently for their turn to order yesterday - on some occasions for several hours.
Huckebee said on his radio show that he was “giddy” about the result of his initiative, which was launched to support Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s stance in favor of traditional marriage.“People are voting with their feet today,” Huckabee said.“I guess you could also say they are voting with their faces, they are stuffing them with chicken sandwiches, those lovely Chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A.”
Mayor Rahm Emmanuel appears to have misheard his constituents when he said,“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values.” Huckabee posted pictures of lines going around the block at a Chicago Chick-fil-A, saying,“This is Chicago? Really? It looks like Mayor Emanuel may be wrong about Chicago resident’s values. The lines are long there too.”
ABC reports that one location in Georgia had to shut down early and turn away hopeful customers after running out of chicken.
CEO Cathy himself showed up at one Georgia chain, where he thanked people in the drive-thru. Cathy unintentionally launched the national movement when he confirmed that his company supports traditional marriage, saying,““We are very much supportive of the family. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.”
After gay rights activists responded with a deluge of criticism, supporters of marriage rallied to Chick-Fil-A’s defense, culminating in yesterdays “Appreciation Day.”
At one Wisconsin chain, pro-life leader Dan Zeidler was in line for over two hours with his wife and a friend. According to his estimates, many would not be served because “there are hundreds of people in line” and the “mall closes at 9 pm.”(At the time, it was 7:30 in the evening.)
“Young, middle-aged, and old guys like me, but everyone is in a good mood, visiting with strangers (new friends?), and glad to witness for the Family and Freedom on this ‘ObamaCare D-Day,’” he said.
One customer, Dave Jackson, 38, a consultant said,“It’s all about freedom of speech.” He also thought it was “ironic” that liberal leaders were harshly attacking Dan Cathy when President Obama held the same views only a few short months ago.
David Deck, a Chick-fil-A worker, said the amount of costumers was “crazy,”“It’s more than we make at Christmas, which is the busiest time of the year for us.”
Phil and Marla Burton of Arlington, Virginia, said they would be coming back,“The food is good!” And the chain’s observance of the Sabbath “shows [Dan Cathy is] an admirable person,” they said.