The shooting that took the lives of 49 people at a gay club in Orlando over the weekend has sparked an outpouring of support for the LGBT community, including from traditionally conservative fast food chain Chick fil A.
Some Chick fil A employees in Orlando showed up for work on Sunday, departing from the normal hours the fast food chain keeps in order to prepare food for first responders and people donating blood to victims of the shooting at gay nightclub Pulse.
The food donations are another sign of how far the company has come in re-crafting its image after CEO Dan Cathy incited customers when he spoke out against gay marriage in 2012, leading to protests at stores.
Cathy stepped back from making public statements about his personal beliefs, telling USA TODAY in 2014, "I'm going to leave it to politicians and others to discuss social issues."
Throughout its 70-year history, Chick fil A has maintained a policy of staying closed on Sundays, a decision founder Truett Cathy made so that employees "would have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so," according to the company website.
But Chick fil A says it has bended the rules a handful of times in order to help out with food donations for "communities in need," including this past weekend. Chick fil A Lee Vista, a store about a 20 minute drive from Pulse, posted several photos on its Facebook page Sunday of employees delivering food to volunteers. The store itself was not open to the public.
"The events in Orlando stirred our local restaurant owners and their teams to band together to provide nourishment to first responders as well as volunteers who donated blood," company spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander said in a statement. "We do not think this requires any recognition. It is the least we can do in this community we love."