Some Chick-fil-A restaurants violated the chain’s cardinal rule of staying shut on Sundays to provide free meals this weekend to people who donated blood for victims of Saturday night’s mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.
The number of stores that fired up their grills is not known. The decision to let employees take over the kitchens was apparently made by individual units rather than as a result of a formal suspension of the no-Sundays rule by the chain headquarters in Atlanta.
It was also not clear if the employees were paid for their time. Social media posts suggest that they volunteered their labor and convinced unit management to provide the food.
“A few members of our awesome team decided to go into work on a Sunday and make some food for people waiting in line to donate blood. We love our city and love the people in our community. #prayfororlando,” an employee identified as Lee Vista posted on Twitter.
Pictures showed employees distributing sandwiches and iced tea to people in the Orlando area waiting in line to donate blood.
The spontaneous decision may improve Chick-fil-A’s perception within the gay community, which has often been at odds with the chain over top management’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Saturday night’s shooting, in which 49 people were killed and another 53 were wounded, took place at a gay nightclub.
Since Chick-fil-A served its first chicken sandwich, the concept has insisted that units stay closed on Sundays. Founder Truett Cathy said he initially adopted the rule out of religious convictions that the Sabbath be a day of rest, but later discovered that the guarantee of a weekend day off made the chain an attractive place to work.