“Sometimes I cry on the drive to work,” said Teresa. We’re were talking about how strongly she felt about working at Chick-fil-A corporate. Teresa works on a team in the cafeteria preparing lunches daily for over 3,000 people.
“Why do you do cry?” I asked.
She said, “This is such an amazing environment, and it is filled with wonderful people. I just love it here. I am so thankful; sometimes it brings me to tears.”
She pointed to a man who was getting coffee. She said, “That’s Mike; he is one of those amazing people.”
I asked, “What makes him so amazing?”
“He is one of the executives here, and he truly cares about me. He takes the time to know me and my family. He even prayed with me when I badly needed it.”
This was my first visit to Chick-fil-A corporate. If you run in Atlanta Christian business circles, you hear stories all the time of how great a place it is. I have to confess it was hard for me to believe what I was hearing. But I can tell you this, having visited there, they now have me telling stories.
Kathy and I were there to introduce our friend Pastor Elijah Sebuchu from Uganda. He was invited by my friend Roy Jones to lead the weekly Monday morning devotional in the cafeteria. It started with worship followed by Pastor Elijah’s talk to over 200 Chick-fil-A staffers. It was a great way to start the week.
So I asked Teresa, “What are the top three reasons you are so grateful to work at Chick-fil-A?”
Immediately she said, “First, I know God brought me here. I am supposed to be here. This is home for me. Second, I love that we are here to serve each other. I am never alone at work. I am here to serve, and I am served. It is hard to explain what a wonderful environment this creates. Third, God is present in this place. I can feel His presence every day.
“I want to be here. I look forward to coming to work. And I’m not the only one who cries coming to work. Lots of us do it. We are so grateful to God for this place.”
More Than Words
After talking to Teresa, I was catching up with a friend and chairman of Hands of Love USA, Jeff Able. I told him about Teresa, and he asked me, “Did you see the statue in the lobby when you came in?”
I said due to construction we entered through the automobile museum. I asked, “Is it a statue of the founder, Truett Cathy?”
“No,” Jeff said, “But it is the most powerful statement of corporate ideology you’ll see in any company.” Now I had to get upstairs.
As Kathy and I ascended the stairs toward the main lobby, there it was. It was a life-size statue of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostle Peter.
The inscription read, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. John 13:14-15.”
As I reflect on my first visit to Chick-fil-A corporate, I believe God had the main entrance under construction so I had to enter at the automobile museum entrance.
Knowing me, I am sure I would have suspected the whole culture if the first thing I encountered was that statue. But instead, I had the chance to discern the culture based on the people I met. Seeing the statue on the way out, it all made sense.