On Friday evening, Dadeland Mall was packed with its usual crowd of South Miami shoppers. An average night spending dollars at outlets and the mandatory visit to the food court jungle.
It was as quiet an outing one could expect for a busy mall -- except for Chick-fil-A's three security guard escort and retractable belt barriers between the restaurant and customers. Hard to miss when it's the only food spot in the courtyard with this kind of special treatment.
Friday was National Same-Sex Kiss Day, a campaign started after Chick-fil-A's president, Dan Cathy announced his anti-gay sentiments, compounded by news of the company's support for anti-gay causes. The campaign in response promoted a "Kiss-In" after Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last Wednesday. According to CNN, executive vice president of Chick-fil-A, Steve Robinson said, "We can confirm reports that [Wednesday] was a record-setting day."
Friday's Kiss-In? Not so much.
What Facebook and other social media sites promised to be an exceptional turn out of LGBT pride, was somewhat underwhelming -- on par with other events around the country. But the turnout did seem surprising for Miami, a city with a large, open, and often vocal gay community.
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Not a single LGBT supporter was spotted exchanging kisses or signs of love at the mall location.
Perhaps it was the added security, which Humberto Maldonado, director of marketing and business development for the mall, said had nothing to do with Chick-fil-A and everything to do with family events being held at the mall that day. We only spotted additional security around Chick-fil-A, however. Maldonado and his colleague sat within eyeshot of the chicken shack, and ordered this reporter not to take any photos, saying, "We don't allow photography in the mall." Minutes later a group of young men snapped photos of Chick-fil-A and were told nothing.
If the security was in place for the Kiss-In, it was unnecessary -- there was no turnout whatsoever. Maybe it was the mall location. Maybe Miami LGBT supporters aren't terribly interested in what a fast food chain thinks of their lifestyles. Whatever the case, at this particular event, Miami played the apathy card.