Part 5 in the series Inspirational People.


KFC Founder, Colonel Harland Sanders

Tonight I had the magnificent opportunity of exchanging thoughts with one of my elders.  The conversation, like a winding road, twisted and furrowed through the valleys of life and scaled to the sun lit peaks of opportunity.

I was particularly moved when he, my elder, told me that I was lucky because I was still young enough to pursue my dreams and that he was troubled by the amount of time he had wasted chasing nothing.  “I have nothing to show for my years of hard work,” he somberly related to me.

It is then that I remembered that down the road from where I live stands a KFC.  “Do you know why there’s a picture of an old man as the KFC logo?” I asked him.  A lot of dust had settled on my memory about the story of KFC, but I tried to relay the message as best I could.

The 11 secret spices of KFC were concocted by Colonel Harland Sanders.  He first served the chicken at his gas station in Corbin, Kentucky when he was forty years old in 1930.  Part of his trick entailed frying the chicken in a pressure cooker as opposed to a frying pan; that prepared the chicken much faster.  His chicken became so popular that in five years Colonel harland Sanders bought a motel across the street and expanded to a 142 seat restaurant.

Colonel Harland Sanders’ customers were generally travellers.  In the mid-1950’s though, his business collapsed due to the new interstate 75 highway which bypassed his town.  The new highway reduced the customer traffic drastically until he had to sell all his properties.

We learn that, at the age of 65, Colonel Harland Sanders took $105 from his social security check and visited potential franchisees.  The rest is history!

In a sense, KFC really started when Colonel Harland Sanders was 65 years old.  We also learn that he wore his distinctive white suite, string tie and his trademark mustache and goatee during the last 20 years of his life.  Hence the old man in a white suite as the KFC logo.

When is the right time to do something great?  Now, irrespective of age.

Vusi Sindane