Chick-fil-A Employee Rachel to Drive-Thru Rant Customer: "I Forgive You, And I Hope America Will Forgive You"
Rachel Elizabeth is the woman shown in a video that went viral after a patron at her place of employment, Chick-fil-A, taped her as he ranted about the political views of a company executive on "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
The young employee's poise in responding to the customer, who was identified as Adam Smith, garnered perhaps even more notice than did Smith's comments. Rachel appeared on today's Your World to react to the events of the past few days since the drive-thru interaction.
Smith, who has since issued Rachel a videotaped apology, also visited her at the restaurant the day after his rant to speak to her in person. She refused to see him at the time.
"I was still
in shock from the fact that the video he took of me was going viral on the Internet, so I didn't know how to react when he came by to see me the next morning," she said. But, that doesn't mean she doesn't forgive Smith for the way he acted.
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"I do forgive Adam Smith. I think he realizes how bad a decision it was to make that video, and I feel really sorry for him and his family and everything that's happened to him since Wednesday," she said.
Rachel also reacted to Smith's tearful video, which included statements such as, "I'm sorry for treating you poorly ... I'm sorry for treating you so inhumanely, because I compromised my personal integrity ..."
"I was really glad that he came forward and made a statement," said Rachel, "because what happened when he came through the drive-thru wasn't so much about Chick-fil-A, it was about how one human being should treat another, and being in the hospitality industry, you deal with a lot of difficult customers on a daily basis, and he wasn't the first I've encountered ... but he was the first who decided to tape the interaction."
Host Stuart Varney, filling in for Neil Cavuto, told the young woman that she "did herself proud." Rachel's humble response was simply, "I'm really glad I could be an example of how we should serve each other. Obviously his issue was with the political decisions of the top of Chick-fil-A Inc., not the individual stores, but people don't usually make those distinctions. It was hard ... but I'm just really glad I was prepared and that the training and upbringing I've had allowed me to get through that minute-and-a-half."
She acknowledged that the man behind the wheel was likely looking for her to lose her cool, but Rachel said that wouldn't have been in the cards regardless of the situation."
"I'm sure he was looking for me to react poorly, [but] it's not in my personality; I would never do anything hateful in return to someone," she said. "I don't know if I'm a hero -- I'm just a service worker doing my job."
As for what she would say to Adam Smith if she had the chance?
"I forgive you. I really hope that America will forgive you and treat you with the respect that I chose to treat you with that day."