Christian wireless provider won’t change ways for ‘woke’ police chief, CEO says
“We expect the attacks because we stand up for what we believe in,” said Mr. Story, who runs Patriot Mobile in Grapevine, Texas. “We’re going to keep donating to the police. We’re still going to support first responders.”
Critics got hotter than a wood-fired pizza oven when word of Patriot Mobile’s donation of a $1,500 gift certificate for pizza to the local police force was posted on Jan. 12 on Twitter.
Almost immediately, the post was flooded with negative comments about the telecom firm that advertises itself as a “Christian wireless provider” and whose political action committee backed several successful slates of conservative school board candidates last year.
Within 48 hours, the police department backpedaled and said it would donate the gift to “a true need” and review its rules for accepting such gifts.
The police department did not respond to several requests for comment.
Patriot Mobile said the gift should be given to another police force if the Grapevine department doesn’t want it.
Mr. Story, 58, said “one woke chief of police” is apparently responsible for the turnaround.
“It’s not what the majority of the police in that department think. It’s not the majority what the people in this community think, either,” he said. “I think that there’s a very small minority that make a lot of noise.”
Of the department’s pizza flip, “People in this community were very upset about it. Quite frankly, [there are] police officers who feel like they can’t speak out because they would lose their job,” Mr. Story said.
Patriot Mobile buys its wireless service wholesale from the country’s top carriers and resells it to consumers at a price often lower than the big-name wireless firms, Mr. Story said. All customer support operates in the United States, meaning a customer’s call isn’t shunted off to a call center an ocean away.
Although the privately held firm employs people irrespective of religious affiliation, many Patriot Mobile employees are Christians who will pray for a customer when requested.
Mr. Story said his firm’s Christian focus comes not only from the employees who pray with customers or keep the Bible on their desks but also from the weekly Bible studies held at the firm by the Rev. Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican.
The firm also donates to pro-life groups that aid expectant mothers and to evangelistic and missionary organizations.
Patriot Mobile will continue to support its political action committee, with the chief aim of keeping Tarrant County, Texas, in the “red” Republican column, he said.
Tarrant County is “larger than 15 states” and has a population of about 2.3 million, said Leigh Wambsganss, the firm’s director of government and public affairs.
“As Tarrant County goes, so goes Texas,” she said.
In the middle of January, Mr. Story and several of his colleagues brought 2,500 barbecue meals to a rally near the U.S.-Mexico border to show support for the Border Patrol and others on the front lines of the country’s immigration battles.
“What I got out of it was a new attitude towards the families that live in the border region. They’re overrun,” he said. “I got more out of the trip than I think we gave personally.”