Posted: Wednesday, August 1st 2012 at 3:43pm
Chick-fil-A supporters flood area franchises
By Derreck Booth Editor
GAINESVILLE - When former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee called on people to support Chick-fil-A Wednesday, people seemed to be listening in large numbers in Gainesville and the surrounding area.
Huckabee, whose show airs weekday afternoons on WDUN, started the "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" for the Atlanta-based restaurant chain, after it's CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently affirming his Biblical view of marriage.
The restaurant in Gainesville was packed during a check Wednesday afternoon, with a line outside of the door, an overflowing parking lot and vehicles continuing to stream through the drive-through lane.
Robert Thigpen was among those getting lunch at the Gainesville location Tuesday. He said the wait was about 30 to 40 minutes, but he said it was worth it.
"Everybody was very polite. No one was ugly. It was not a negative thing, it was a very positive thing. It's just great to be an American today," Thigpen said.
He said his support wasn't only for Cathy's worldview, but also his right to make the comments.
"I agree with what he said, but I also believe that he ought to be able to do that without getting in trouble for it," Thigpen said.
Cathy's comments have drawn the ire of some, who have directed their disagreement with him to the company.
A Chicago alderman vowed to block a Chick-fil-A proposed in his district, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported him, saying, "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values."
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote in a letter to Cathy: "There is no place for discrimination on Boston's Freedom Trail and no place for your company alongside it."
But Gainesville resident Mamie Reinbold, who stated her belief in the Bible said media coverage of the events is what brought her out for some chicken Tuesday.
"They said the first of August is Chick-fil-A Day so we decided, 'yes,'" Reinbold said.
She also didn't mind the wait.
"It doesn't matter how long the wait is, we'll wait."
Long lines and traffic problems were reported at other Chick-fil-A franchises in the area, including the one in Cornelia, where more than 50 members of the Habersham County GOP Party came out to show their support of the Atlanta-based company.
"This is about religious freedom, this is about freedom of speech, and this is about a private company being able to do with their profits what they want to do with their profits," said 9th District Congressional Candidate Martha Zoller, who was with the Habersham County GOP Party members Wednesday.
Associated Press contributed to this story
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