I love Chick-fil-A. And I don’t mean I just think it’s a really swell place to eat. I mean, I Love it. With a capital L. I Love it in the til-death-do-us-part kind of way. In the Elizabeth Barrett Browning let-me-count-the-ways kind of way. And here’s why.
The original chicken sandwich. It’s just a bun and chicken and some pickles. There’s nothing fancy about it. But it is quite possibly what a little slice of heaven would be if it could be wrapped up in foil. Chick-fil-A doesn’t need “special” sauce to try to dress up a sandwich. And it doesn’t need a vegetable garden–and a wilted, soggy one at that–to try to enhance its sandwich’s appearance. The original chicken sandwich doesn’t need any of that. Because it has the bun. The top and bottom buns wrap the chicken in a buttery Snuggie, enveloping it in a toasted warmth. The original chicken sandwich doesn’t need fanfare. Because it has the chicken. It’s like the Shaquille O’Neal-meets-Albert Pujols of chicken. (Not a sports fan? Read: giant and extremely valuable) This is no wimpy over-sized chicken nugget pretending to hold its own in a sandwich. This is a hearty, juicy hero’s cut of chicken, all covered in a deliciously crispy thin coating. The original chicken sandwich has no time for distractions. Because it has pickles. They may be small, and they may be green–which isn’t very easy according to Kermit–but they are the key to this amazing creation. They are sparks of flavor, the kind of thing a chef calls his “secret ingredient”. These round bits of pizzazz are what ties it all together, much the same way I imagine the bacon does in Paula Dean’s bacon-doughnut-egg burger. And there it is. Just a bun and chicken and pickles. Nothing else. But so much more.
And then there’s Sunday. Chick-fil-A isn’t open on Sundays. This does frustrate me sometimes–like last weekend when only the thought of a morning chicken biscuit (yet another reason why Chick-fil-A is probably what God is using as a demonstration site for Heaven) could drag my depressed self from bed and into the car only to remember halfway there that there’d be no chicken biscuit rescue because there were no Sunday chicken biscuits. Yes, I do often find myself craving a Chick-fil-A meal on Sundays. But I am never mad. How could I be when I’m so happy that at least one corporation and at least some Americans still have integrity? This company isn’t so money-hungry that they will compromise on their values. And it’s not open on Christmas or Thanksgiving either. When Wal-Mart is off prostituting itself at 2 AM on Thanksgiving night and trying to bring slavery back the same way Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back, Chick-fil-A stands out like a pillar of morality. It’s a reminder that words like integrity and morality and values should still mean something.
But most importantly, I don’t think there’s any place in America with people as nice as at a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Anywhere. I’ve been to them in California and Indiana and Texas, and they are all the same. Sweet, polite, respectful men and women. They greet customers with a smile and say words like “thank you” and “have a wonderful day”. They never mumble and roll their eyes because I asked for something 10 feet away that they have to take three steps to get. They are always so happy to refill my cup and equally happy to give me some barbecue sauce for my fries. They even walk around with little samples of their peppermint milkshake. When the Chick-fil-A near me just opened, there were several employees in the parking lot directing traffic and greeting cars as they entered. It was packed that day, and not once did any of these people snap at anyone. They smiled and offered us menus to peruse while we waited in the 45-minute drive-thru line. They helped cars exit the parking lot and assisted the entering cars with finding parking spaces. Every single Chick-fil-A employee we passed greeted us with a smile. There were just so happy to be there and to see us. And this happened all three times that I went there that day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, I went there three times.
And that’s why I’ve decided my dream in life is to live in a Chick-fil-A. That is what I want. If I had Dorothy’s red shoes, that would be my wish. If I had a monkey’s paw, I’d spend all three wishes on this desire. To be surrounded by such good food and such high character and such unbounded happiness, there can be nothing better.
I Love Chick-fil-A. In sickness (like the third trip there when I got sick from the most magnificent milkshake I’ve ever downed in five minutes) and in health. I Love Chick-fil-A. I do.