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Customer service was the order of the day in my parent’s small country restaurant. I watched my parents and learned first hand from their example. Because our living quarters were attached to the restaurant, the lessons and benefits of great customer service were demonstrated daily to me at an early age. When I was just a young tike of about 7 years of age, my parents thought I was old enough and mature enough to wait on tables at our little country restaurant. When customers came in and took a seat at one of the four square tables, I greeted each with “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon.” Then, I took each of them a glass of water along with a menu and asked if I could get them something

The Master of My Fate

At the age of 22, I moved to Albany, GA to start the Albany Auto Auction. I was backed financially by my former employer, Al, and our agreement was that he’d provide the cash and I would provide the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ that goes with operating the business. Even though I was young, I did have a couple of years of experience working in the auto auction business. Coupled with that was plenty of energy, enthusiasm and a strong desire to be my own boss. It was going to be great; I would get to call all the shots, to make decisions as it was going to be up to me if the business was to be successful. For the most part, Al stayed out of the day-to-day operations (he lived three hours away

The Time To Do It

Back in my teenage years, I spent many an evening catching and then loading up chickens for our neighbor, Mr. Gunter (we all called him Uncle). Uncle raised chickens commercially. He would buy thousands upon thousands of “biddies,” then place them in the long chicken houses on his farm where he would feed and water them until they were large enough to be taken to market for processing. This feeding process was set up so the chickens could eat anytime on a constant basis and gain weight quickly. When the chickens reached an optimal weight, it was time to catch them. Uncle would hire a bunch of us boys to catch the chickens by hand and load them on the truck. My job was to catch some 7 to 8 at

Leave it to the Professionals

In the Spring of 1967 at the age of 20, I went to work for the Palatka Auto Auction. For me, it was a temporary job as I was scheduled to begin college in August. Towards the end of July, I went to the owner and reminded him that my last day of employment was coming up soon and that, indeed, I would be leaving to go to college. He asked me why did I want to go to college, and I thought to myself, “That’s a really good question.” After a moment, I said, “I want to get an education so that I can go into business for myself so that I won’t have to work for you or anyone else!” To this, he smiled and made his case. “You are a smart young man with a bright future ahead of you. I don’t think c

Healthy, Wealthy and Waldo Wise

My parents were “old school” when it came to health. They were firm believers in the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” And they often quoted Benjamin Franklin who said: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Momma and daddy were very pro-active about our health. Their belief was; if you stay healthy, you won’t have to see an expe nsive doctor and buy expensive prescriptions! With that in mind, our dad would line us four kids up every evening and gave us a spoonful of Blackstrap molasses, wheat germ oil and cod liver oil. Additionally, we were given Vitamin C and Vitamin D. We did that for as long as I can remember and for

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