At the free-standing Oxford Chick-fil-A in front of Walmart, the dine-in line wound around the restaurant and out the front door onto the sidewalk at noon. The parking lot looked like a traffic jam, as a stream of vehicles poured through the two-lane drive-through area. A manger directed traffic in the scorching summer heat, sweat dripping from his forehead.
Many of the patrons said they were there to support Chick-fil-A and its president and chief operating officer, Dan Cathy, who recently came under fire for stating publicly that he supports a Biblical definition of marriage. Cathy also came under fire for the company’s support of a non-profit that funded other organizations, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Family Research Council, that gay-advocacy groups say are anti-gay.
Crowds reportedly were gathering at other Chick-fil-A locations around the country for the same reasons, after national commentators suggested today as a time for public support of the restaurant chain.
“I think they have as much a right to say what they think as anyone else,” said Hollie Hood, a Mississippi resident with roots in Calhoun County who stood in line for more than 30 minutes to get a sandwich. “I don’t think Chick-fil-A was being ugly in what they said, I just think they were being true to what they hold true.”
About a mile away, more than 100 people stood in line at the Chick-fil-A inside Quintard Mall. It took an hour for some to get their sandwiches.
A mall employee said lines there stretched the length of the food court by 11 a.m. Just after 1p.m., it had shrunk to half that length.
“I would just like to support Chick-fil-A and to support their beliefs,” said one patron, Sandra Rayner, of Saks.
Staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.