Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Truett Cathy | Chick-fil-A | Jimmy Collins

Former Chick-fil-A Exec: Truett Cathy Was 'Friend to Everyone'

By    |   Friday, 12 Sep 2014 11:06 AM

Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy was both a simple and complex man whose driving force was to make a difference in other peoples' lives, former Chick-fil-A executive and author Jimmy Collins said Friday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

"He was an entrepreneur, he was creative, but most of all he was a friend," Collins said. "Truett was a friend to everyone he ever met."

Cathy, who died Monday at age 93, never strayed from his humble beginnings, according to Collins, other than indulging his love of automobiles.

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"He never was pretentious," Collins recalled. "He lived in the same modest home for 60 years. He still was living there. Now at the memorial service, his pastor pointed out that even though Truett had been living in this very modest home for 60 years, he did have a 200-car garage in the backyard for all the automobiles that he bought.

"That was Truett. Truett never put on airs. From the time he began to the time he ended, as a man, he never changed."

Despite growing Chick-fil-A to 1,800 stores in 40 states, Cathy never took the company public, a purposeful decision on his part, said Collins, author of "Creative Followership: In the Shadow of Greatness" about his career under Cathy's tutelage.

"Truett said I never would want anyone to buy stock in Chick-fil-A and lose money," he said. "And he said if I ever went public and someone bought the stock in Chick-fil-A and they lost money, I would feel obligated to return their loss and so I'm just not going to do it."

Asked to describe Cathy in a single word, Collins said "friend."

"He had a steady stream of people who always came to visit him because they had pleasant memories of past experience, and they knew that if they had a problem or if they needed counsel or if they just needed a friend, that Truett's door was always open."


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Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy was both a simple and complex man whose driving force was to make a difference in other peoples' lives, former company executive and author Jimmy Collins says on "America's Forum."
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