Hi! My name is Patrice Campbell. "Alcohol and God: One Man's Story” is a record of recent events that took place at T-Birds Cafe, about ten miles from where my husband Don and I live. I know the power of alcohol to destroy—my own mother was murdered because of it. I also know the power of God to transform lives and to deliver from alcohol. Randy Griffith, the owner of T-Birds, is a man transformed who means business with the Lord—and that means no business with alcohol.
The story takes place in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville, with its suburbs, has about 350,000 people. It lies at the foot of a mountain in north Alabama. Since the 1950"s when German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and a team of scientists began working at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal to develop the rockets that took man to the moon, Huntsville has become known as the “space capitol of America”.
If you leave Huntsville on busy Highway 72 E, just before you hit the countryside on the east edge of the city, you can see T-Birds Café. T-Birds sits among a few other businesses—a motel and gas station nearby on its right and a veterinarian and a swimming pool business on the left.
T-Birds Café a Bikers’ Bar
Randy Griffith bought T-Birds Café three years ago. He immediately went after a liquor license—the first liquor license on the east side of Huntsville. T-Birds specialized in Hot Wings, Texas Burgers, Liquor, Beer and Smoking. Randy parked his Harley in front of the business and painted a frosted beer mug in the front window. T-Birds Café became known as a biker’s bar.
T-Birds breaks into the news
T-Birds was a good business but that’s not what got a story on it in the Huntsville Times. What happened is this: one Monday morning in June, 2005, Randy Griffith walked into his café and announced to his employees that the alcohol and the tobacco were out—totally out of T-Birds. He said he had come back to God.
To back up his words, Randy turned in his liquor license. Next he asked local church members to meet him in his parking lot for a bottle bashing ceremony that evening—the evening of the day he stopped serving liquor. He set the time for 7:00 p.m. so that his mother who had to travel from Tennessee could get to T-Birds. Randy wanted her to bash the first bottle.
Four thousand dollars worth of booze poured out on the pavement that night in a scene reminiscent of the late 1800’s when crusades against alcohol touched 31 states.
In spite of warnings from some unhappy patrons that without alcohol he was going to lose most of his customers and that “you won’t make it without booze,” Randy stuck to his guns. Then the newspaper picked up on the news and printed a story about T-Birds Café for all the world to read.
The rest of the story
Randy Griffith is a man who was brought up by his parents to know about God. He himself accepted Christ as his Savior. He married Terry, a Christian girl. But when Randy got involved with alcohol and other drugs, he chose to walk away from God.
What led to his turn-around? First of all his wife and his mother and his father were praying for him. Second there was a man who became a friend—a friend who talked to him about the Lord. And then came the circumstances God used to open his eyes to danger.
Randy says that as he slipped more and more into a life of drinking and doing drugs of all kinds, Terry cried and cried and begged him to straighten up. His life was going down the path of destruction; he got to staying away from home one night, then two nights and then a whole week. Finally she called his mom and dad and told them about the drugs and his not coming home. His reaction was to get mad at her. But Randy’s dad came to see him and his warning, “I hear you’ve been doing some bad things, son. You need to straighten up,” got his attention.
Then all of a sudden he noticed something even more shocking, “she’s not crying anymore.” He realized that Terry was giving up on him, and his marriage was almost gone. She was discouraged and ready to quit. He was in big trouble.
Searching for help, he went to see the man who had befriended him and who had been talking to him about the Lord. He had one question, “What should I do?”
The advice he received led Randy and Terry to decide to visit some churches. Terry, in her discouragement, had not been going to meetings either, so both of them needed a church home. They found a church that preached the truth from the Bible, and it was here on a Sunday in June that Randy turned his life back to God and rededicated his life to the Lord. His purpose in life changed; with it came the conviction that the Lord did not want him selling liquor.
T-Birds right now
“Following my renewed faith meant cutting out both drinking and smoking at T-Birds Café,” says Randy. “Despite some disgruntled customers and employees, T-Birds is doing better than ever. I don’t look back. This is one on the best decisions I have ever made.”
When his story made the news, many area churches came out to show their support for Randy’s stand. Local church members have more than made up for the customers who won’t come back. Some former biker customers have actually showed up for wings and a drink—sweet tea. And not to forget—lots of motorcycle riders are Christians who like a café without smoke and without booze.
Monday night at T-Birds is Biker’s Night with a 10% discount for bikers. Randy has his Harley out front but the frosted beer mug in the front window is gone, and a Cross has taken its place. A slogan painted on the side of the building says, “On a wing and a prayer.”
The cooler where the Bud Light and Michelob took up shelf space is now occupied with Bleu Cheese and Italian dressing. Instead of liquor by the drink, Randy serves New Testaments from behind the bar, courtesy of his friend who keeps him supplied. There have actually been a few folks who have accepted the Lord as their Savior at T-Birds.
Friday night is youth night. Youth directors from different churches bring their young people to T-Birds. They meet for a message and music on the walled patio between T-Birds and the motel next door.
“My life is wonderful,” says Randy. “Stress? Gone. Worry? Gone. Alcohol? Gone. Other drugs? Gone. With everything that’s gone, I now have more room to smile.”
But some who think that the article in the Huntsville Times has just spurred a brief show of community interest and patronage, ask Randy, “What will you do when the news articles are no more and everything goes back to normal?”
His reply is that he had nothing to do with the articles. “What I did, I did for the Lord,” he says. “I’m just going to keep on serving the Lord.”
The phone rings and it’s the Huntsville Times, calling about another article. “You can’t tell me the Lord isn’t doing this,” says Randy, “and even sending my story all the way to SD.”
The eye witness
An interesting report first went out about events at T-Birds Café the night of the “bottle bashing”. With the alcohol draining away, all who took part in the ceremony walked over to the Café, and with uplifted hands laid their hands on the building to dedicate it to the Lord. One of Randy’s customers passed the restaurant and saw all the people with their hands raised, leaning against the building. He immediately made a call to a buddy and said, “Something bad is going on down at T-Birds. Everyone has his hands on the wall! It’s the biggest bust I ever saw.”
Like the old days
The eye witness was right. It was a bust. God busted up Satan’s stronghold.
As I listened to Randy’s account of God’s work in his life, I said, “Praise God for His wonderful works to the children of men.” This true story sounds like the old days when revivals came and taverns stopped selling liquor and some even conducted church services. It is an encouragement from the Lord Who tells us, “I am the Lord. I change not.” He has never changed His attitude toward the selling and drinking of beverage alcohol.
A good change helps others
I want to end this article with a little story about Amy, my son Scott’s wife. She was driving out to see us when she noticed one of the children was unbuckled from his car seat. She stopped on the T-Birds Café parking lot to buckle him up and seeing 2 waitresses outside smoking, asked them, “Do you have carry-out meals?” She also commented on “the change we’ve heard about here.”
“Oh yes,” they said, “We don’t serve alcohol and we can’t smoke either. We conquered the drinking and now we’re working on the tobacco. Hope you can bear up with us. We’re trying.”
May we have more men like Randy who will put the Lord first in their lives and who will take a stand against alcohol.