So, I know I’m a little late to this one, but as the story continues, I’ll put in my 2 cents. As you may be aware, Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy was interviewed and asked about his personal beliefs. This kicked off a firestorm about same-sex marriage and the role of businesses and their officers. In response to this firestorm, conservative Mike Huckabee promoted a Chick-Fil-A appreciation day on August 1, 2012 for people to show their support of the company. There were also same-sex marriage supporters who organized a kiss in rally to show support of their values, and calls for boycotts, and a bit of vandalism. The mayors of Chicago and Boston got involved. None of this will really be elaborated on here (and has, in fact, been greatly simplified), because this post is focused on this YouTube video, showing Adam Smith, the CFO of Vante, Inc. harassing Rachel Elizabeth, a drive-thru worker at a CFA in Arizona while she remained composed.
Really dude? What part of this could have really seemed like a good idea? You didn’t like what the President of the company said, so you took it up with the worker at the drive-thru of your local CFA in Arizona, rather than the man himself (who is located in Atlanta)? You were rude and disrespectful, which would have been bad enough, but you video taped it and posted it on YouTube. Why? What purpose was this supposed to serve?
The CFO of any company needs to be able to inspire confidence as someone who remains cool under pressure, doesn’t make truly bizarre decisions, and can separate their emotions from the matter at hand. After all, he is responsible for their finances. If you work with money, you need to be reliable and level-headed. Smith had options in this situation. He could have just joined the boycott and quietly encouraged his friends and family to do the same. He could have written to Mr. Cathy’s office to voice his displeasure respectfully. He could have written an opinion piece if he really had to publicize his feelings. The rant could have been a momentary lapse in judgement, except that he taped it and posted it on YouTube himself. This wasn’t security footage or a bystander taping it and exposing him – he exposed himself.
So he was promptly fired. He dragged his company into the national spotlight and put a big, black mark on them. He did this as an officer of the company, and they were embarrassed. I have to wonder if this was a truly odd moment in his pattern of behavior, or if this was foreseeable.
Now he’s very sorry for what he did and apologized to her through Inside Edition (I was not actually aware that this show was still on). In fairness, he did go to the store the day after his rant to apologize to her in person, but understandably she wouldn’t see him. I wouldn’t want to take the chance of a second dose of his vitriol. I wonder how long it will be before he claims a substance abuse problem and checks into rehab? Meanwhile, his family is paying the price for his public display of poor judgement.
Ms. Elizabeth, for her part, not only displayed decorum that was widely praised, but she has publicly forgiven Mr. Smith, and she feels sorry for him. I don’t know anything else about her, but I would be willing to bet that her future will be pretty bright – temporarily because of this, but permanently because of her overall demeanor. As you are out and about can come across unpleasant people, try to think of what Rachel Elizabeth would do.
So, what do you think folks? Do you agree with the decision by Vante, Inc. to fire him? Do you think it’s likely that he’s displayed questionable behavior before, or do you think that this was an aberration? Is there anything that Vante could have done to have prevented their association with this mess?