The CFA Drive-Thru Girl and the (Former) CFO

We call them “natural consequences”: that uncomfortable feeling of being full after eating too much, the hangover after a night of drinking too much, the immediate pain after touching something hot, and the losing of one’s job after doing something stupid. Adam Smith, from Tucson, Arizona, knows about the latter, and he is still feeling the guilt from his stupidity.

For those of you who don’t know who Adam is, he is the one with the viral video about Chick-fil-A. Adam sat in the drive-thru line for quite some time only to order a “free water.” After receiving his water, Adam went on to berate the girl who served him about Chick-fil-A’s “hate.” If you still don’t know who he is, watch the video here. What is most interesting in the whole interchange between Adam and the drive-thru girl—known only as Rachel—is how well she maintains her composure throughout Adam’s whole emotional tongue-lashing.

What began as one man’s crusade to express his views against a fast-food company has become nothing less than a recurring nightmare. Adam has since been fired from his job as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Vante, Inc, a medical manufacturing company. Vante released a statement regarding Adam’s firing which said: “The actions of Mr. Smith do not reflect our corporate values in any manner. Vante is an equal opportunity company with a diverse workforce, which holds diverse opinions.”

Interestingly, Vante seems to understand “diversity” as being able to actually hold to differing views, without being harassed for holding them, which is precisely the opposite of what individuals like Adam Smith and the gay activists mean by the term. Diversity to them means that everyone must believe as they do. Divergent views—like ones held by Chick-fil-A’s president Dan Cathy and drive-thru stalwart Rachel—are not allowed in their definition of “diversity.” Adam Smith now knows that Vante actually stand by their (true) understanding of the word.

The Bible tells us that “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). The drive-thru video of Rachel and Adam is a pure testimony to this biblical truth. Hours after the encounter, Adam returned to Chick-fil-A to apologize to Rachel. She refused to see him, which prompted Adam to post a video apology on YouTube. Rachel now says she is willing to meet with Adam and forgive him in person. Whether that will actually happen remains to be seen, but she did forgive him on national television in an interview with Fox News. Adam Smith learned Proverbs 15:1 the hard way, but you can be guaranteed that he won’t soon forget the lesson.

But what should be the take-home message from all of this for the rest of us? Is Rachel the example here, or Adam? The choice is obvious. Those of us opposed to the redefinition of traditional marriage are often not known for our Rachel-like responses. Of course, it is seldom reported that the pro-gay marriage advocates are almost never Rachels, and are almost always Adams. Their response is generally one of confrontation and verbal abuse, as is evidenced by their “response” to Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day—the failed “Kiss-In” two days later. This was hardly a “soft answer” to the long, slow, peaceful lines of Appreciation Day.

May we all be reminded and taught by Rachel’s example. Not simply because her method results in keeping a job, while the other results in a firing—it is seldom this clear and tangible. The real reason to model Rachel is because the Bible tells us to, and because it is the right thing to do. People are not convinced by sharp responses, or even by a biting monologue, but may be humbled by strong resolve, a polite smile, and a gentle demeanor. A friend of mine even dared to suggest that Chick-fil-A consider hiring Adam Smith. What a soft answer that would be! Something like that could really sideline much of the political babble swirling around the gay marriage debate. Rachel is showing all of us the “better way.” I pray we learn from her example.