When Adam smith drove approximately a Chick-fil-A drive through window and began suggesting with an employee about LGBT rights, he assumed he to be doing other positive. But video of his protest soon went viral. And he walk from gift a CFO to gift on food stamps and contemplating suicide.

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Adam blacksmith went from being a CFO to gift on food stamps ~ protesting in defense of LGBT rights at a Chick-fil-A. (Courtesy the Adam Smith)

When Adam Smith gained in his car, drove up to a Chick-fil-A drive through window and started confronting one employee about LGBT rights, he assumed he to be doing something positive.

For him, it to be one action in undoing anti-gay messaging he claims he to be taught together a child.

But his very first act the protest ever before would soon cause his life to unravel.

Smith filmed the 2012 conference in Tucson, Arizona as component of a larger demonstration versus the fast food chain. The chairman, president and CEO Dan T. Cathy — a noted Christian — had publicly said he was "guilty together charged" because that backing the "biblical definition of family," and also donated money to groups thought to be anti-gay.

This sparked a backlash, consisting of a speak to for people to movie themselves notified a big water in ~ Chick-fil-A and, if denied, point out the Bible passage, "If your adversary is hungry, offer him food come eat; if the is thirsty, provide him water to drink." If the employee then provided out the water because that free, the an obstacle suggested, the participant would succeed in acquisition money away from the company.

"When ns was met with few of the points  said ... She disagreed through me, she really liked her company, climate it ended up being a fight. And also then it became ago to what i was taught, i beg your pardon is 'Hey, I'm much better than you, I'm smarter 보다 you, I'm on the right side.' and also then it became really me matches her," claims Smith the his communication at the restaurant. 

"I to be spouting off, however I was watching myself spouting off, and I go, 'I guess this is what a protest feeling like. Ns guess that feels this kind of rage, this uncomfortable, conflict energy. I guess this is what the is and also I assumption: v I'm simply going come go with with this, and also here ns go."

After steering home, smith uploaded the video clip to YouTube. Shortly after, he claims he received an email from one unknown sender who said they'd used face recognition technology to determine who he was, and vowed to obtain him fired.

Smith trust the sender was reacting come the stance he soaked up the video. However he says he refused to it is in intimidated and also thought every little thing was walk to it is in OK.

'It got an extremely personal, really real'

At the time, Smith — a husband and also father the four — to be an achieved businessman, the chief financial officer in ~ a clinical supplies company.

The morning after he uploaded the video, the went to occupational as usual.

"The receptionist who greets me every morning, she looked at me and she had huge eyes and said 'Adam, what did girlfriend do?'" says Smith, "'There are thousands of voicemails ... And they are full of death threats and bomb threats.'"

Smith regretted exactly how he express his see to the Chick-fil-A employee and proposed do a windy apology.

Instead, his firm urged him come quit. As soon as he disagreed, castle fired him.

His family and friends to be disappointed in Smith for what he had done. 

"I'm still emotional now," that says, "I don't prefer letting civilization down that ns love. It's something ns carry. That didn't feel good. I definitely didn't feel choose I walk the best thing for my family, shedding a job."

A push release announcing his termination was choose up by major news media outlets, which were extending Chick-fil-A protests. Soon, the video clip he uploaded went viral.

"There to be literally thousands of civilization commenting ~ above me and me as a person and also my reputation and who ns am and what i deserve. They to be talking around that I need my youngsters taken away from me. They claimed that I need to definitely hang myself and also I don't worthy to live ... So the got really personal, very real."

'I establish these results were going to it is in bigger'

Smith states his resume was impeccable, so landing interviews to uncover a brand-new job wasn't a problem... but getting and keeping a job proved next come impossible.

"I finished up gaining an interview and flying the end to Portland, Oregon and also getting the job. And I feel prefer I'm back. Two weeks right into it ... I get called into the CFO's office and they stated 'Adam, you lied come us. You didn't tell us around this video,' and also I defined I didn't require to, legally, and they stated 'That's as well bad, you're fired.' the one to be a substantial wakeup call due to the fact that then ns realized these consequences were walking to be bigger."

He applied for one more job, and also after one interview was offered an offer. This time, smith tried a different tactic. Before accepting, the told his would-be new boss about the video clip and the news it generated.

"He said, 'Well everybody makes mistakes. Room you going come make the mistake again?' and I said 'No, you have my word," states Smith. 

I'm sorry Adam, you're walk to it is in too much of a distraction He dubbed his wife to share the good news, yet while they to be talking, the firm that had just rental him left the a voicemail.

It said that they to be sorry, yet a plank member thought he would certainly be too much of a distraction and also that they needed to take it the sell back.

"I make the efforts over and also over. It taken place a couple times after that and I just got in some deep, deep depression."

An tremendous fall

Two and half years later, Smith and also his family members were surviving on food stamps and were months far from moving into his in-laws'.

"I remember questioning them in tears because it was so humbling come ask if my family of six deserve to stay in your garage," he says.

"My inner reputation took a large roller coaster drive ... I started to think 'What would certainly life be choose if i was no around? would it it is in better? would certainly my family be better off?'"

Then, Smith says he realized he had a life insurance policy worth $1-million, looked in ~ the details, and saw self-destruction wasn't an exclusion.

"I even had the revolve of the hill off the shore of Oregon that ns was going to go by myself and also just do it. That's where I was at."

'I needed to be humbled'

Smith realized he necessary to tell his two therapists and also his mam that that was having suicidal thoughts. Together, they chose he need to do a journal workshop.

"I went every the means in. I just went all the way. Ns didn't hide anything. That workshop works once you have actually nothing come lose. So I just went into the deepest, deepest components of everything, all the means inside, all those stories, all those thoughts, all the programming and also it to be so healing."

I've made it a mantra that it doesn't issue what other civilization think the me outside. It just matters internally, it just matters what's happening inside.- Adam smith Adam states that to be the very first big action to rebuilding his life, his reputation and also himself.

He's due to the fact that done more workshops and taught courses about mindfulness.

"I have pertained to a location where ns don't need other people's approval anymore."

Now, Smith lives with his household in Costa Rica and also runs a heal centre. He says he doesn't think he would be the human he is this particular day if he had never posted that video of that protesting at Chick-fil-A.

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"This was such a gift that taken place to me; this thrashing, this publicly shaming, this call dissolution that taken place was the best thing ns needed due to the fact that I needed that humbleness, I required to it is in humbled and nothing to be going come humble me prefer that." 

This story originally aired ~ above April 8, 2018. It shows up in the Out in the Open illustration "Reputation".