A Memorable Day
In late 1970 or early 1971, I was a young Captain on active duty with the US Air Force stationed at Warner-Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. I had just returned from a difficult year away from my family at a remote location. At the time, I was seriously pondering career options. I noticed that a new mall in Centerville, Georgia, where we lived, was having an open house, so we decided to attend. That day, I had a most interesting experience that I have remembered clearly over the years.
I met three remarkable people - Lester Maddox, who rode a unicycle backwards and gave me a miniature ax-handle; Jimmy Carter, who flashed me a huge smile and thanked me for my service; and Truett Cathy. I asked Mr. Cathy about franchising opportunities with his fledgling business and, he, in turn, asked me some leading questions about my interest and reasoning for possibly getting into the franchise business. From the discussion, I was helped to make my decision to stay in the Air Force for a career most by one thing Mr. Cathy said - not an exact quote, but he observed that I had a most worthwhile and rewarding profession in our military, so I should weigh my options very carefully and make a decision that would benefit me, my family, and others the most. He then said that he would be very happy to seriously consider me for a franchise and provide necessary training. I have often thought that I would have been rewarded well by going into the Chick-fil-A business. I'm sure Mr. Cathy gave the same type of fatherly advice to many people over the years - and just maybe that is the hallmark of his success.
Colonel, United States Air Force, Ret.