Metro area supporters of Chick-fil-A and its President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy braved the triple-digit heat and long lines to eat at the fast food chain on Wednesday, designated by supporters as “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
“I just didn't feel like it was right that Mr. Cathy was wrongly victimized for beliefs he held,” David Rader, 55, of Tulsa, said after eating lunch at the Chick-fil-A at 6201 N May in Oklahoma City. “Our family supports the same beliefs that he has held.”
The Rev. Steve Lopp, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Jones, said he and about 20 members of his congregation drove to the Chick-fil-A at 7331 SE 29 in Midwest City to buy lunch in support of Cathy. Lopp and his wife, Diane, said more members of the church who work or live in the Midwest City area met the group from Jones at the restaurant. The church members waited in a lengthy line that snaked around the building, as they and other customers waited to get inside the store to give their orders.
“We just want to support Chick-fil-A and we appreciate their stand on biblical convictions,” Steve Lopp, 58, said.
His wife agreed.
“When the company's president Dan Cathy spoke, he spoke for a lot of us,” she said.
The drive-thru line at the Chick-fil-A on N May ran the length of the parking lot and out onto the street all the way up to NW 63 and May. At the Chick-fil-A at 52 E 33rd street in Edmond, cars waited in drive-thru lines from at least three different directions. At all three metro locations, many customers parked in nearby shopping center parking lots and walked to the restaurant to dine-in or get their orders to go.
Robyn Matthews, 22, of Oklahoma City, said she parked in a nearby pet store parking lot and walked to the Chick-fil-A on May Avenue on her lunch break. She said it took her about 25 minutes to get her food but the wait was worth the chance to support Cathy's First Amendment right to free speech.
“We live in a country of freedom of speech. It doesn't mean that I believe what he (Cathy) said but he has the right to say it,” Matthews said.
She said many of her co-workers had said they planned to eat at a Chick-fil-A near Quail Springs Mall. Matthews also said one of her relatives tried to eat breakfast at a Chick-fil-A in Tulsa and the manager said the restaurant, flooded with customers, had run out of biscuits about 7 a.m.