Tucson CFO loses cool, job after rant at Chick-fil-A drive-thru

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By David Baker By David Baker

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Chick-fil-A debate has sparked heated exchanges from pro and anti-gay marriage activists,  but one thing both sides agree on -- don't bully the employees.

Adam Smith, who was the CFO of Vante, Inc. in Tucson, posted a video of himself online Thursday ranting to a Chick-fil-A drive-thru employee. He has since been fired for the clip.

In the 2:20-long video, he ordered a free water, and then pulls up to the window for his order.

"You know why I'm getting my free water, right?" Smith asked the female employee.

"No," replied the worker.

"Because Chick-fil-A is a hateful corporation," Smith said.

"I disagree. We don't treat any of our customers differently," replied the employee.

“Chick-fil-A is a hateful company," Smith later said. "I don't know how you sleep at night," then adding, "This is a horrible corporation with horrible values.”

Smith thought he was doing the right thing by recording the confrontation. He posted it on YouTube, but then took it down. 

It was too late though, as it had already gone viral.  People on both sides of the debate blasted him for the way he spoke to the woman in thousands of posts online.

The damage was done, and he was fired from his job.  According to Marketwatch.com, Vante, a medical device manufacturing company, released this statement Friday:

"Vante regrets the unfortunate events that transpired yesterday in Tucson between our former CFO/Treasurer Adam Smith and an employee at Chick-fil-A. Effective immediately, Mr. Smith is no longer an employee of our company.

The actions of Mr. Smith do not reflect our corporate values in any manner. Vante is an equal opportunity company with a diverse workforce, which holds diverse opinions. We respect the right of our employees and all Americans to hold and express their personal opinions, however, we also expect our company officers to behave in a manner commensurate with their position and in a respectful fashion that conveys these values of civility with others. "

The debate involving Chick-fil-A started when President Dan Cathy said he supported the "biblical" definition of marriage.  Gay marriage activists criticized the company. That included Boston Mayor Tom Menino vowing to block Chick-fil-A from establishing a restaurant there. Chicago politicians have made similar promises.

On Wednesday, thousands flocked to Chick-fil-A restaurants across the nation, in order to show their support of the company. On Friday, supporters of gay marriage held "kiss-ins" at several Chick-fil-A restaurants.