one of the best small beginnings

This hero was born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1921. Born on March 14, 1921,  Samuel Truett Cathy developed a philosophy early in life, for which he credits his success, to work hard and place his trust in God. His father, an insurance salesman, was beaten financially and emotionally by the Great Depression, and as a result Cathy looked to his mother for emotional support.  His mother also provided financial support for the family, renting a house and taking in boarders.  He learned hospitality from his mother where he washed dishes and served guests in their home.   Cathy helped the family by selling Coca-Cola’s for a nickel door to door, operating a paper route, and performing odd jobs.  He won his first bicycle from selling newspapers.  He attended Boys High School in Atlanta, Georgia. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Truett Cathy began Chick-fil-A in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, Georgia in 1946 with a restaurant called the Dwarf Grill, named for its small size. It was there that he, along with his brother and partner, Ben, created the sandwich that later became the signature menu item for Chick-fil-A.  The original restaurant, since renamed Dwarf House, is still in operation.  Chick-fil-A has grown to almost 1,700 locations with over 4 Billion dollars in sales.

I have worked with and admired this man for 28 years.  The closer I have become to him, the more I like him.  Very few people live up to this.  He turned 90 this year and Molly and I got to go to his 90th birthday party at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atalanta.  What a great time to recognize one of America’s Hero’s.

On my list of dreams this year was to spend 20 minutes with Truett.  I wanted to personally wish him a happy birthday and thank him for the opportunity he gave me 28 years ago.  I wanted him to know how grateful I am for what he has done for me and my family.

I got my chance.  I was at our corporate office for a meeting and had requested to see Truett.  I ran into his assistant while eating lunch.  She told me to hurry and eat that Truett had been waiting on me to arrive all morning.  I hurried and went up to his office.  He greeted me by name!  It is true.  The sweetest name you will ever hear is your own.  We sat down and talked.  I got to tell him how grateful I was and wish him a happy birthday.  We sat in silence for a few minutes.  Probably only one minute but it seemed like ten.  I reflected to Truett how fast our lives have gone.  He smiled and agreed as we talked about how this small sleepy chicken company had exceeded our wildest imaginations.

I will never forget my friend Truett and the generosity he has shown me.