Chick-fil-A set aside its hallowed tradition of closing on Sundays to help thousands of stranded travelers. On Sunday, as Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport grappled with a massive blackout, the chain turned on its fryers and broke its time-honored custom.

Heading toward midnight, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said Chick-fil-A served about 2,000 meals to passengers. The airport’s Twitter page thanked Chick-fil-A chairman and CEO Dan Cathy for opening on a Sunday, using the hashtag #ChristmasMiracle.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, founded in 1967, closes its business every Sunday. Truett Cathy made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant (The Dwarf Grill) in Hapeville, Georgia. On its website, Chick-fil-A says that “Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose—a practice we uphold today.”

Chick-fil-A even kept the lights off Sundays at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. There was only one Thursday night game, meaning Chick-fil-A stayed trued to its core beliefs throughout the football season. The brand does bend its rules to help communities in need. On another occasion, Chick-fil-A employees near Orlando, Florida, also worked on a Sunday following the mass shooting at Pulse.

The Atlanta airport’s blackout affected passengers in terminals and even some who had their flights diverted mid-air. The world’s busiest airport said power outages started after 1 p.m. Sunday.

It was believed to have been caused by extensive fire damage at an underground electrical facility. It affected the facility, Georgia Power said, and also substations serving the airport. More than 1,000 flights were cancelled to and from the airport. Power was restored around midnight, nearly 11 hours after the outage occurred.



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