The owner and workers at a Birmingham, Ala.-area Chick-fil-A restaurant trudged more than a mile amid a rare Southern ice and snow storm to feed stranded motorists along a clogged highway, Fox News reported Wednesday.
Restaurant owner Mark Meadows had shuttered his restaurant near Highway 280 as the snowstorm intensified — only to reopen it when staffers drifted back, unable to make any headway on icy roads.
"Our store is about a mile and a half from the interstate, and it took me two hours to get there," manager Audrey Pitt told Fox News.
"It was a parking lot as far as I could see."
"At one point there were more people walking than driving," she said, noting that some drivers stuck inside their cars had been there for as long as seven hours without food or water.
That's when Chick-fil-A came to the rescue.
"We cooked several hundred sandwiches and stood out on both sides of 280 and handed out the sandwiches to anyone we could get to — as long as we had food to give out," she told Fox News.
Motorists were astounded.
"I looked up and I'm like, what is he doing?" Lauren Dango told Fox News about seeing owner Meadows walking from car to car handing out sandwiches.
"He had a catering order and it got canceled, so he pulled over and started giving away food."
She said he even helped another driver up an icy incline.
"Kudos to Mark Meadows for not only preaching the 'second mile' concept, but actually living by it," the driver said she wrote to the company, Fox News reported.
Pitt said the company "is based on taking care of people and loving people before you're worried about money or profit."
"We were just trying to follow the model that we've all worked under for so long and the model that we've come to love," Pitt told Fox News. "There was really nothing else we could have done but try to help people any way we could."
"We were here," she added. "We had food and there were people outside who needed food. So it just made sense to do something for them."
Chick-fil-A even offered its dining room to those who chose to sleep out the storm on a bench or in a booth, she said.
"It's a blessing to us to be able to help people," she said. "It really is."
According to Accuweather,
the "once-in-10-year storm" spread freezing rain, sleet and snow across a wide swath of the South on Tuesday and Wednesday, with states of emergency declared in Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The storm expanded eastward across Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and the mid-Atlantic coast through Tuesday night.
In Atlanta, more than 2,000 students remained trapped in schools and buses Wednesday after tens of thousands were rescued by state troopers and other law enforcement officials, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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