Fast food customers know the rule: Chick-fil-A never opens on Sunday. It’s been that way for over 50 years, with the policy tracing back to the restaurant founder’s religious beliefs. So what happened last weekend that caused one franchise to break from this long-held tradition? A total state of emergency, that’s what!

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta lost power over the weekend. This freak outage grounded and canceled thousands of flights and stranded tons of passengers in one of the world’s busiest airports for hours on end. At around 10 p.m., Atlanta’s mayor Kasim Reed contacted the fast food chain, asking for assistance in feeding hungry travelers. And they happily obliged.

Here’s how it all went down, according to Dan Cathy, the chairman and CEO of Chick-fil-A:

“The mayor called about 10 p.m. and asked for assistance. We immediately mobilized staff and team members who live and work near the airport, and they are making sandwiches and delivering them to the EOC (emergency operations center). City and airport officials there are distributing sandwiches to passengers who are stranded due to the power outage.”

Cathy also added, “It has been a very difficult day for thousands of travelers, and while Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday, our restaurants open occasionally to serve communities in need. We do not make a profit, but do what we can to offer comfort to people experiencing hardship.”

While it might have sucked for those poor folks who were stuck stranded for hours on end, at least they managed to score free waffle fries and chicken sandwiches. On the Sabbath, no less!

It’s also some well-needed, positive press. In recent years, the Southern-based chain has been mired in controversy due to a slew of allegedly discriminatory practices. But hey, free waffle fries! That makes everything better, right?

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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