There is just something about that simple buttery bun, with a whole slice of white meat chicken and a couple pickle slices in between the bread slices.  Those slightly salted waffle fries always hit the spot too–I always get the large size!  Last time we went there, I tried their “famous” lemonade, which is near perfect.

Andrea and I first went to our local Chick-fil-A several months after moving to Pennsylvania.  What sparked my interest was a radio program that we have on a radio program I had just heard called Legends of Success with John Resnick (which I still try to listen to most Saturdays at 7:00am, News Radio 910 WSBA York). Every week, the host interviews a successful founder or CEO of a large, well-known corporation, and basically asks them about what made their company successful.  Normal questions are: Why did you choose this area of business?, What was the hardest decision you’ve ever made?, What was the turning point?, What is your business model?, and Why do you love doing this?  I have heard shows where the host interviewed the founders of : Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Outback Steakhouse, Southwest Airlines, Sheetz, and Hasbro.  My favorite interviewee–by far–was S. Truett Cathy, Founder and Chariman of Chick-fil-A.

Mr. Cathy is a true, old fashioned, kind-hearted, and not to mention: savvy businessman.  I couldn’t explain it any better than the below timeline from his website:

1929 At 8 years old, Truett Cathy begins his entrepreneurial journey to business success by operating a Coca-Cola stand in his front yard.
1935 The Cathy family, in desperate financial trouble, moves to downtown Atlanta’s Techwood Homes, the country’s first federally funded housing project. At the time, rent was $67 per month. Even with Truett’s income from his paper route assisting, the family cannot make rent and is forced to return to operating a boarding house.
1935 Truett develops his “customer service” business philosophy while delivering the Atlanta Journal to residents in the Techwood Homes public housing project.
1946 Truett and his brother Ben open The Dwarf Grill (later named the Dwarf House) in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville. First day sales total $58.20..
1951 Second Dwarf House opens in Forest Park, another south Atlanta suburb.
1960 The Forest Park Dwarf House burns down, prompting Truett to rebuild and pioneer one of the first fast-food restaurants in the Atlanta area, despite initial reluctance from customers.
1961 Truett invents the boneless breast of chicken sandwich, calling it a
He perfected the recipe over a four-year period using cooking techniques from his mother’s humble boarding house kitchen.
1967 Chick-fil-A premiers at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta, Ga., pioneering in-mall fast-food restaurants.
1973 Truett establishes the Team Member Scholarship program to encourage restaurant employees to further their education. Today, nearly 20,000 students have taken advantage of Chick-fil-A’s scholarship opportunities to further their education.
1985 First full-service Chick-fil-A Dwarf House opens in Jonesboro, Ga.
1986 First free-standing Chick-fil-A restaurant opens on North Druid Hills Road in Atlanta, Ga.
1987 The Cathy family establishes their first WinShape® Foster Home at Woodbury Cottage in Mt. Berry, Ga.
1995 Truett uses Cows to sell chicken. The now famous Eat Mor Chikin®
3-D Cow billboard campaign hits the streets.
2001 Chick-fil-A opens its 1000th location with overall sales in 2001 reaching $1.242 billion — a system-wide increase of 14.35 percent over 2000.
2002 Truett is invited to testify in Washington, DC, before the House Ways & Means Sub-Committee on Business Ethics. Later that year, Truett is invited to President Bush’s Economic Forum held at Baylor University.
2003 Truett and Jeannette Cathy receive the Norman Vincent and Ruth Stafford Peale Humanitarian award in recognition of their “positive difference in the quality of life in our society.”
2004 Truett releases his fourth book: It’s Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men.
2006 Truett celebrates 60 years in the restaurant industry with friends, family and business associates at the original Chick-fil-A Dwarf House restaurant in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, Ga., where his restaurant career began.
2006 With nearly 1,300 restaurants in 37 states and Washington, D.C., Chick-fil-A surpasses $2 billion in annual sales in 2006 to remain the second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the nation, based on annual sales.
2007 Truett pens fifth book, “How Did You Do It, Truett?”, which offers his personal recipe for building a successful business.
2008 President George W. Bush personally recognizes Truett with the Presidential Volunteer Service award.

In the interview, a few good points were made that I truly appreciated.  He made it known that he would never work on Sunday.  He knew other businessman who had the same conviction, but would still make there employees work that day.  Mr. Cathy quotes his father in regards to this, “‘I don’t want to ask people to do that what I am not willing to do myself.”

Another point that was made is each employees’ emphasis on customer service.  Mr. Cathy said something to the effect of, “We just operate by the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.”  He is was not just saying that.  At the Chick-fil-A we go to, about twenty minutes down the road in Shrewsberry, I have never met any fast-food staff as customer service-oriented as they (a testament to their franchise owner, as well).  Whenever someone says “that you”, they always reply back, “Our pleasure!”  Even as a fast food restaurant, they make sure everything is top-of-the-line clean–more than most sit-down places.  The employees who help keep the place clean by emptying trash and wiping down tables are always kind and cordial, asking if you would like a refill.  They will take your cup, refill it to the top, and ask if you would like anything else.

Believe me, I could go on and on about just how good Chick-fil-A’s food is.  I have never been disappointed in the slightest; and even if I could have been, the service and atmosphere blurred everything else over.  I haven’t been there in almost a month, now; so I guess we’re do for some very soon!


I really enjoy this new Kindle that I was given for my birthday by my parents!  In fact, I like it so much that I have been reading more as of lately, therefore not much blogging–no apologies, though!

The first book I downloaded (in the van on the way back from Empowered Youth) had just come out the previous day, I believe.  It was Decision Points by former President George W. Bush.  I appreciated the format and writing style of the book, but was not all that impressed with it.  If I were to give it an “Amazon” style star rating, it would probably be a “4.”  However, as I was finishing up Decision Points, I heard of a new book that had just been published and released a few days before, and was already on many “Best Books of 2010” lists, and quickly became a bestseller.

Now, I usually don’t just fall for a book just because it is a bestseller.  In fact, many bestsellers are worthless in my eyes.  I figure what literary critics often like, I will not.  Yet, the premise of this book attracted me.  It is was titled Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.  I read the brief synopsis of it, and figured I would give it a whirl.  “Why not,” I thought.  “With a Kindle, if it is worthless, I didn’t fork over much for it anyway.”

I delved into the true story quickly (probably too quickly) last Monday, the sixth of December.  The story is of an Italian American named Louis Zamperini.  I had never heard of him before purchasing the book.  He was born into a lower middle-class family of immigrants in 1917, near New York City.  When Louis was a baby, the Zamperini family moved to southern California, near Los Angeles, and as he grew, he became the town rascal.  He would steal anything he could, take on any other boy his age, and get even with anyone who stood in his way.  Everyone knew he would be in the juvenile hall before he was even grown.  All of the police in Torrence, California knew exactly who “Louie” Zamperini was.  His older brother Pete, though, invested everything to turn his little brother around.  Louie’s brother and parents decided to make him into an athlete: specifically a runner.

At first, Louie hated anything to do with athletics and running; but soon, he gave in and began to love running.  He would train constantly, and soon became the fastest high school mile-runner in the state, and within a year, the country.  In just four years since beginning running, he was an Olympian at the 1936 games in Berlin (where the Nazis had recently come to power, and Hitler the Chancellor).  Louie was still a rascal though: he decided he was going to steal the Nazi flag from Hitler’s home.  He was caught stealing the flag, but the guards never knew that he still had the flag stuffed in his clothes.

When the United States entered World War II, Louie reluctantly joined the Air Force–reluctant because he was disappointed he couldn’t run in the next Olympics in Tokyo, which was obviously cancelled.  Over a great series of events, his plane went down in the Pacific Ocean, where he survived for well over a month on a six foot long life raft.  Nearly starving to death, he and the other survivor, pilot Russel Phillips miraculously spotted land.  Unfortunately for them, though, they were picked up by an enemy Japanese ship before they could reach the island.

From that point on, Louie and Russel’s lives would be absolute misery.  They were constantly starved, experimented on, and beat to a pulp.  One guard, knowing Louie as a famous runner, singled him out, and found nearly every way to beat him nearly daily.  Louie, with ever bit of pressure around him to succumb to the beatings, starvation, and abuse by losing his sense of patriotism and pride, never once broke down in front of his captors.  He was convinced that if he did, he had betrayed himself and his country.  As the war drew on, the abuses grew even worse, wearing on Louie physically and emotionally.  With death all around him, it all became hopeless when the rumor spread that the Japanese, losing the war badly, would kill all prisoners of war on a certain date.  Just days before that date, two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese homeland, ending the war, and giving freedom to the surviving POWs.  Louie came out “unbroken.”

Louie arriving back home after years in a POW camp

He was a national hero.  But in his mind, the war had only just begun.  Every single night, his captors appeared in his dreams, constantly beating him.  He began to drink heavily, knowing it as the only way to dull the emotion and stress.  He began to hate his captors so much that he knew the only way to rid himself of them in his mind was to go back to Japan and seek revenge.  His new wife could no longer handle the drinking, and within a few years of marriage, she sought a divorce.

Then the most miraculous thing happened–Louie’s wife was invited to see an evangelist preach at a city-wide crusade.  When she came back she said she had been born again, and would no longer seek a divorce.  Louie thought that was great, but for sure did not like the religious part of it.  All of the sudden, his wife had “religious” friends around her constantly, and would always try to persuade him to go to an evangelistic service.  Finally he agreed.  He heard the preacher, Billy Graham, talk of sin, hell, and forgiveness, and Louie wanted to part of it.  He left even more mad at God.  He drank himself to sleep that night, along with that came yet another nightmare of him getting beat up.  The next night, his wife bugged him again to attend the service.  He flat out refused.  Just to see his wife happy, though, he said he might just go–just as long as she promised he could leave as soon as the preacher told everyone “to bow their heads, close their eyes, and with no one looking around.”

Louie was convicted the entire message of his sin, boiling inside with so much hatred of everything.  When the time of the invitation came, he got up to leave. As he stepped into the aisle near the back row where he and his wife were sitting, he came to the greatest realization in his life: everything he had suffered and survived through was to wake him up to his need for a Savior.  He broke down, went to the altar, and accepted Christ as his redeemer.  That very evening, he went home and emptied his great collection of liquor bottles and cigarette packs: he was done with his old life.  He was a Christian now.  From then on, after five and a half years of constant nightmares and depression, he never once had a nightmare or bout of depression again.  Also, instead of the most severe hatred of his captors, he felt nothing but love for their souls.  He soon returned to Japan to meet as many of the prison guards as he could.  Many, he personally led to the Lord.  The story could not have ended any better.

Though not even written as a Christian book; as a Christian, I can see the truth in it all.  His whole life, Louie could be broken by no one: not even the most violent men in the world.  Yet, when he came home, he nearly broke himself by alcohol and depression.  Then Christ broke him of his pride and hate, making him whole.  From then on, Louie Zamperini was truly Unbroken.

…I imagine that you all can tell just how much I enjoyed reading Unbroken. I think I finished all 500 pages in a week.  For those of you that think this is probably just a typical war story, it is everything but that.  It is exactly as the subtitle states: …a story of survival, resilience, and redemption.