Small Business Highlight: Harold Anderson, Big Harold’s Diner- What is Success To You?
“Travis Patterson….thank you for highlighting Big Harolds. I have been toiling (grinding) for many years. Most of those years have been at the discretion of someone else, and during that time, I felt like i was successful. Like I had arrived. I was a 6 figure salaried employee, who was making my employer 1.5 million dollars a month through the 30 entities I managed. To many, that spells S…U…C…C…E…S…S…. to me not so much.
I was incomplete. There was a larger more gratifying and self fulfilling calling that was coming. I had no idea that a wrong turn while riding my motorcycle one afternoon would reveal that answer to me. So, I walked away from my employer of 18 years and a six figure salary. Fast forward 18 months later to 2 Big Harold Diners. That road towards my vision if success is near. In no way am I even close to my previous salary, and may never get back there, but, that didn’t spell success for me.
I have traveled the world and have met some remarkable people. One of which was on a train as I traveled from South Carolina to New York. I helped an elderly lady board the train in Charlotte, NC. Her handler was having a hard time with her, so I helped. She too was headed to New York where she lived at the time. We talked until the train arrived at Grand Central Station. I was an ex-football player who was “lost” she was an ordained minister. Through that conversation, I learned humility, and gratitude, and that while material things and money are important, they are not the most important. Salvation is.
This stranger, had my undivided attention. She and I became friends and this friendship lasted for the next 15 plus years until she died in 2008. Besides my mother, she was probably the most spiritual and the strongest mentally person I had met. She had 4 children whom all preceded her in death and her faith never wavered. How many of us could have done that? I have never forgotten her message and the lessons she tried to teach and it was simple…do as much good as you can do, for as many people as you can do it, for as long as you can. From that time spent, Big Harolds #1 and Big Harolds #2 became a reality and now this is my life long goal.
I never would have thought that meeting the Reverend Mary Ida Vandross on a train would be the driving force of my life. If the name sounds familiar, it should. She is/was the mother of Luther Ronzoni Vandross. She didn’t have to be on a train, but she was……… I am not done yet, but, when I am, posthumously you can say, here was a successful guy who did the most good for the most people for the longest period of time. That’s success to me. Having some impact on many lives as we walk along this journey.”