Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you… The Golden Rule. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A, lived by the Golden Rule since the opening of his first restaurant, the Dwarf Grill, Hapeville, in 1946.
Living by this rule helped him see that his employees weren’t just workers, they were human beings living normal lives with families, friends, needs, wants, and desires. He practiced developing long-term relationships with his employees and getting involved in their lives.
One such relationship was with Eddie White. Eddie worked with Truett as a teenager but found himself with a dilemma. He wanted to go to college, but didn’t have the money to do so. One of the waitresses at the restaurant placed an empty mayonnaise jar on the counter with the label, “Eddie’s College Fund” to prompt guests, who were like family, to participate. Money was raised, and true to spirit, Truett made up the difference. This was Truett’s first ‘scholarship’ and he gave it to Eddie because he believed in him.
As Eddie was preparing for going off to college, Truett wanted to make sure that Eddie had everything he needed, so he invited Eddie to see the manager at an exclusive men’s clothing store in downtown Atlanta. Much to Eddie’s surprise, he was able to purchase as many pieces of clothing that he wanted, all at Truett’s expense.
But the story doesn’t end there. Eddie graduated from college, become a classroom educator, and eventually became the assistant superintendent for a school system near Atlanta. Imagine Truett’s satisfaction knowing that he had a hand in helping Eddie grow and then go on to influence the minds of students.
Truett and Eddie maintained their relationship over the years. When Truett gave out his 25,000th college scholarship (a perk provided to qualifying Chick-fil-A restaurant employees), guess who was right there with him? Yep, Eddie White.
Eddie’s loyalty to Truett Cathy paid dividends over time: the quality of his work, the passion he had for his customers, and the continuing voice of advocacy he had for the Dwarf House brand long after he left. As his influence grew over time, Eddie was a priceless asset to the Dwarf House and later to Chick-fil-A.
Are long-term relationships worth it? What do you think?