How KFC founder Colonel Sanders fulfilled Ostap Bender’s dream of white pants
It is believed that the most fruitful period of human destiny is youth. It is at this time that people find their calling, open companies and write their first books. However, there are other examples. The well-known Colonel Sanders, whose face we still see on the signs of the famous fast food chain, has lived in obscurity for most of his life. He achieved success only in 40 years, and he became a millionaire after 60, having lost everything before that.
Harland David Sanders was born on September 9, 1890 in Indiana into a fairly wealthy family. However, he encountered life difficulties at a very young age. When the boy was five years old, his father died, and his mother had to work hard to feed his family. The kid undertook to help as best he could, and soon he became responsible for preparing food in the house. In this lesson, he showed obvious talent, but it will be many more decades before Sanders realizes that this is the thing of his life.
The boy left the family very quickly, he did not have a relationship with his stepfather, he was expelled from school after grade 7 for frequent absenteeism, so at the age of 12 young Sanders was a completely independent creator of his fate. He moved to his uncle and began to work wherever necessary. At the age of 15, it occurred to him that it would be nice to serve in the army. Ascribing himself an extra year, he ended up in Cuba, where at that time there were unrest. True, instead of gunpowder, the young soldier tasted other smells – his constant duty was to clean the stables (so he received the rank of colonel not in the army years). So he valiantly served the required years, fell ill with a tropical disease, lost 20 kg and returned to his homeland, full of strength and desire to conquer this world.
True, the world turned out to be persistent and was not in a hurry to fall at the feet of a young man who had neither money nor education. He worked as an assistant to a blacksmith, washed trains at a railway station, served as a conductor of a long-distance tram, a loader in a furniture factory, a locksmith in a car repair shop, a ferry captain, a tire fitting director, and even a law course practitioner in a local court, but could not succeed. Because of this, his wife even did not want to live with a loser. However, working as a fireman, the future millionaire met Claudia Price. This woman then suffered many ups and downs for many years, and he did not part with her until the end of her life.
By the age of 40, the older, but already wise life, Sanders was still able to accumulate a little capital and get an extra-mural education at a fairly prestigious University of Chicago La Salle. He decided to open a car repair shop and looked for one promising section of the federal highway. Since the room was large enough, Sanders additionally came up with a small eatery here. One table for six seats and food prepared in the home kitchen – this is how his first cafe looked in the 1930s. Of course, this establishment was still very far from a gigantic chain of restaurants, but Harland Sanders himself prepared dishes for casual visiting guests in a small kitchen. His signature dish was chicken, fried under pressure in special seasonings. The visitors were so fond of the visitors that soon the cafe clearly “outgrew” the auto repair shop, and soon a brand new motel with a full-fledged restaurant with 140 seats was built next to it.
It was a very fruitful period in the life of a former handyman who managed to achieve success with his talent and hard work. Sanders began to actively participate in public life and received the honorary title “Colonel of Kentucky” from the hands of the governor of the state. He became a freemason and managed to rise to the highest 33 Ancient and accepted Scottish charter. Around 1950, the elderly Sanders decided to create a recognizable image, grew a dandy mustache and beard and began to wear only white suits with a black tie and ribbon. For the next 20 years, this “uniform” – Ostap Bender’s dream became his only public clothing. In winter, the white suit was warm wool, and in the summer – light cotton.
However, when the colonel turned 62, and it seemed that his life was already successful, the business suddenly went downhill. The restaurant began to suffer losses due to the opening of a new highway, which reduced the number of visitors. As a result, he again remained with nothing but Sanders realized that he had only one value left over the years – the unique secret of a crispy fried chicken. All these years, he was foreboding, kept it a secret. And now an elderly colonel in a white suit began to travel around the country, trying to sell the recipe. More than a thousand times he has been refused! But patience and self-confidence once again won.