By Angela Barbosa
As I strolled through the food court, my first stop was at one section decorated with red tablecloths and mini stuffed cows carrying a tiny sign that read: “Eat Mor Chickin.” That was the welcome card for a group of 25 children who were at the Danbury Fair Mall food court to enjoy a dinner meal hosted by Rich Beattie, owner of Chick-fil-A.
The Pathfinders Club is a worldwide program organized and directed by the Youth Department of the General Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. It offers a wide range of learning experiences for young people 10 to 15 years of age (and older) of any religious designation, or none at all.
Beattie, 33, is the first-time business owner behind the Chick–fil-A franchise that opened at the Danbury Fair Mall back in November of 2014. When approached by Tribuna’s Publisher, Celia Bacelar, about inspiring the Pathfinders by sharing his story of a successful business and a life in Christ, while feeding the children some delicious food, Beattie was all for it.
“We like to unite our passion for youth, education and community involvement, as we seek to support those that have a heart for this community, like Tribuna has.”
Together with the help of his marketing director, Nicole Keating, and Chick-fil-A staff, Beattie nourished the Pathfinders with much more than just a tasty meal. He shared his love for his wife, Kari, and his four children Hudson, Natalie, Kirsten, and 6-month old baby Harrison, and the biblical principles that can benefit anybody that’s part of the business. “So whatever your faith, or whatever your commitment, you’re going to find a benefit in it,” he said.
Beattie also spoke about life examples, lessons and people that have helped shaped his character and beliefs.
“I learned that you always go to work. My dad, when I was young, I never saw him miss a day of work. If it snowed, he went to work. If it was raining, he went to work. If he was sick, he went to work. Sometimes it’s hard but it teaches a good work ethic,” he stated.
Another influence on Beattie’s life has a lot to do with the success he achieved in his business.
“Truett Cathy started Chick-fil-A 70 years ago with $4,000. He worked so hard that there were some days that he would sleep in his uniform so if he heard anybody come to the restaurant, he would get up and serve them. At three in the morning, he would have his uniform on and he would get up and go to the restaurant. He would choose to have a good name more than any great riches,” Beattie advised the children.
Beattie is a reflection of a passion for serving, a lesson he learned from the Bible in Matthew 5:41, about going beyond the second mile, surprising people and doing the unexpected.
“In John 13, Jesus was around the table just like this. There were 12 other of his leaders in the room and you know that they all looked up to Jesus. Do you know what Jesus did? He bent down and he washed his disciple’s feet. He took care of all the dirt that was on their feet from their travels, he took care of their sores from their sandals. He did it all to serve them, to show them that even when you are the most important person in the room the best thing you can do is serve others.”
After being inspired by Beattie’s life story, Pathfinder’s Director Cleber Costa of Clube Universo of Bethel presented Beattie and Tribuna’s editor-in-chief, Emanuela Palmares, with a plaque of appreciation for their support and a pin given to the children when they engage in the club as Adventurers, one stage before becoming a Pathfinder.
Chick-fil-A at Danbury Fair Mall is located at 7 Backus Avenue, Danbury, CT. For more information, visit http://www.chick-fil-a.com.