As we’ve mentioned before during this whole Chick fil-A standoff thing, it’s the fast food chain’s employees who have been unfairly drawn into a cultural tug of war. For example, there’s the Tucson, AZ, executive who thought it would be a hilarious idea to post a video of himself berating a Chick fil-A staffer. Not only did he fail to effect any change, he’s the one who is now out of a job.
The clip, which the now-former CFO for an Arizona medical manufacturing firm has taken down off of YouTube (but which lives on, because nothing on the Internet ever dies), features him waiting in his car at the drive-thru, where he had ordered a free cup of water.
He asks the cheery young woman at the video, “You know why I’m getting a free water, right?… Because Chick fil-A is a hateful corporation.”
When the employee, who you can sense has had to defend her job a lot in the last week, tries to explain her point of view, the man talks over her and tells her the “company gives money to hate groups.”
“I have to stay neutral on the subject,” the employee tries to say. “My personal beliefs shouldn’t be in the workplace.”
Shen then tells the man, “I’m really uncomfortable that you’re videotaping me.”
And yet he continues.
As the employee tries to politely hand the man his water, he says, “I don’t know how you live with yourself and work here. I don’t understand it. This is a horrible corporation with horrible values.”
The man then pats himself on the back, saying “I just did something really good. I feel purposeful.”
But, apparently just in case any of the single ladies out there are looking at this video (or maybe if he ran into this young woman at a bar at some later time), he clarifies, “I’m totally heterosexual… there’s not a gay in me. I just can’t stand the hate.”
After the video, which you can enjoy in all its awful awkwardness below, became popular online, it was announced that the man in the clip would be stepping down from his job.
“We obviously found it very disturbing,” said the company’s CEO, who says his business has no stance on the same-sex marriage issue. “We respect everybody’s ability to share their opinions in the public square and we have a very diverse workforce with a diverse set of opinions. We expect employees to behave in a professional manner that’s commensurate with their positions, and discuss their opinions in a civil fashion. … We thought what he did was inappropriate.”
We just don’t see what this man had hoped to gain — outside of becoming infamous on the Internet and losing his job — by chiding a fast food employee who has nothing to do with the choices made by Chick fil-A’s leadership.
Unless things have changed a lot since my fast food days, employees who hand out food at the drive-thru don’t usually have a direct line to the company’s president.
To any Chick fil-A employees out there: We’d love to hear from you (and we promise not to ask you ridiculous questions like “How do you live with yourself?”). Only you can tell the world how customers have been reacting — both positively and negatively — and how it feels to be in the middle of a tense national debate when you’re just trying to make a living.
If anyone wants to share their story, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org — We will obviously respect any employee’s requests to remain anonymous.