Former Vante CFO and treasurer, Adam Mark Smith, went from being relatively unknown to an unemployed, virally-hated man with a video he thought was taking a stand against discrimination of gays.
In a YouTube video, Smith berated Chick-fil-A employee Rachel Elizabeth at the drive-thru window when she gave him, a protester, a free cup of water:
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Smith: “You know why I'm getting my free water, right?”
Smith: “Because Chick-Fil-A is a hateful corporation.”
Elizabeth: “I disagree. We don't treat any of our customers differently..”
Smith: “I know, but the corporation gives money to hate groups. Hate groups. Just because people want to kiss another guy.”
Elizabeth: “I'm staying neutral on this subject... my personal beliefs don't belong in the workplace.”
Smith: “Yeah I believe that too, I don't believe corporations should be giving money to hateful groups.. I'll take my water”
Despite his attitude and her slight uneasiness, Elizabeth was polite and calm, even wishing him a nice day as he drove off:
Elizabeth: “I'm really uncomfortable that you're videotaping this..It's my pleasure to serve you, always.”
Smith: “Oh, of course, I'm glad that I can take a little bit of money from Chick-Fil-A, and maybe less money to hate groups.”
Elizabeth: “Well, we're always happy to serve all our guests.”
Smith removed the video and posted an apology video in its place several days later. But the damage was already done:
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The Daily Mail reported:
"Smith told 20/20: 'I got into work and the receptionist, the first thing, big eyes, 'Adam, what did you do?', she said. 'The voicemail is completely full, and it's full of bomb threats.'''
The day after posting his rant, Smith lost his job and Vante released a statement noting that Smith's actions “did not reflect [their] corporate values in any way.”
According to Boston News, Smith went from earning $200,000 a year, with cushy stock options valued at $1 million, to losing everything. His family even had to move into an RV.
Smith finally was offered a new job as a CFO in Portland a few months later:
“'I felt like, 'yeah, I got it. I am back',' he said.”
However, his past came back to haunt him:
“[N]early two weeks later, he was fired once again after his boss realized he was the man from the video.”
Now on food stamps, Smith and his family are still feeling the consequences of the choice he made three years ago. Using the experience as inspiration, Smith has penned a memoir titled A Million Dollar Cup of Water: Discovering the Wealth in Authenticity.
As for the Chick-Fil-A employee, Elizabeth? Continuing to show grace, she's accepted Smith's apology:
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She also noted that she felt bad for all that's happened to him since he first posted the video.