As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m from Hamilton, Ontario. Hamilton is a city known for steel, football, and coffee.
Indeed. At one time, long before Seattle took the title, Hamilton was said to have more coffee shops per capita than anywhere else in the world. Hamiltonians love their coffee and in particular, they love their Tim Hortons.
(My long academic career ( far too long the Partner would say), where the MLA guidelines were burned into my brain, doesn’t allow me to blatantly steal (yes, split infinitive and all) from another source without citation. Therefore academic honesty requires that I mention that the next paragraph has been appropriated (lifted) entirely from Wikipedia.)
Tim Hortons is a Canadian fast food restaurant known for its coffee and doughnuts. It was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton. In 1967 Horton partnered with investor Ron Joyce, who quickly took over operations and expanded the chain into a multi-million dollar franchise. Tim Hortons franchises spread rapidly and eventually overtook McDonald’s as Canada’s largest food service operator. The company opened twice as many Canadian outlets as McDonald’s and system-wide sales also surpassed those of McDonald’s Canadian operations as of 2002…
And thus ends the appropriated (lifted) segment of the Gay Groom’s blog.
In fact, the very first Tim Hortons (on Ottawa Street in Hamilton) wasn’t too far from your humble blogger’s boyhood home. And like many young Hamiltonians, I started drinking coffee at a very young age. At first it was a double-double and a blueberry fritter and later, my taste refined to drinking coffee with just milk with a tea biscuit. I loved Tim Hortons. So much so that when I was in high school in the east end of Hamilton, I thought that owning a Tim Hortons franchise would be about the best job I could ever have. It was my dream.
“I could like drink coffee, yak with people and smoke all day long,” I said as I sat on a harvest gold Tim Horton’s bar stool talking to my pals back then, “it would be like a never ending coffee break!”
We smoked and said ‘like’ a lot in the 80s.
So imagine my horror when today I discovered (via Michael Airhart at Truth Wins Out and the Providence Daily Dose) that a Tim Hortons franchise in Rhode Island had decided to co-sponsor a rally next week (anti-gay cookout and worship) hosted by the National Organization for Marriage. And who are these hatemongers? Well the National Organization for Marriage is currently leading campaigns to take away the civil rights of gays and lesbians in Maine to marry as well as fighting marriage equality in places like Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey and elsewhere.
Tim Hortons supporting bigots?
At 9:00 am I voiced my concern to Tim Hortons with a strongly worded email via their website describing my feeling of betrayal.
“I am a gay man about to be married,” I typed out whacking the keys, “and if you allow your Rhode Island, franchisee to sponsor this event, then this lifelong customer has bought his last Timbit!”
I thought that Timbit line was clever and pithy.
Over the next few hours, other gays, lesbians and gay/lesbian friendly straight folks continued to show their outrage on Facebook and Twitter. According to one friend who called an overwhelmed customer service lady in their Oakville head office, they had “an onslaught” of angry calls today.
As there should be.
By 2:00pm (so fast that it impressed me very much) there came an answer via a twitter update, Tim Hortons would not support National Organization for Marriage’s hate party.
From the Tim Hortons website:
Tim Hortons responds to inquiries about Rhode Island event sponsorship
Recently, Tim Hortons was approached in Rhode Island to provide free coffee and products for a local event, as we do thousands of times a year across Canada and the United States.
For 45 years, Tim Hortons and its storeowners have practiced a philosophy of giving back to the communities in which we operate. As a company, our primary focus is on helping children and supporting fundraising events for non-profit organizations and registered charities.
For this reason, Tim Hortons has not sponsored those representing religious groups, political affiliates or lobby groups.
It has come to our attention that the Rhode Island event organizer and purpose of the event fall outside of our sponsorship guidelines. As such, Tim Hortons can not provide support at the event.
Tim Hortons and its store owners have always welcomed all families and communities to its restaurants and will continue to do so. We apologize for any misunderstanding or inconvenience this may have caused.
And thus ended “Timmy-gate”.
And off I went to a Tim Hortons near my condo here in Toronto and bought myself a coffee (“just skim milk, please”) and a blueberry tea biscuit.
54 days to to.
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom