"The hard way builds solidly a foundation of confidence that cannot be swept away."
You don't become the world's most famous cook without being a perfectionist. The Colonel was uncompromising on his standards of quality, and he required the same from his employees.
In 1974, before my daughter was born, her mother had to cross Jefferson St. in Louisville to meet me for her ride home. It just so happened that the pickup spot was across the street from the Kentucky Home Life Building that housed the Colonels' corporate staff. The timing was such that for several weeks my daughter's mother was at the crossing spot about the time that the Colonel was leaving his office and crossing to the parking garage side of Jefferson St. He would take her arm and assist her across. He even waited with her a couple of times to open the door and assist her in. He told me what a fortunate fellow I was. He was a legend.
I knew the Colonel in the early '70s. I worked at a GM dealership in Milan Indiana, just out of high school. The Colonel bought a new white Cadillac Eldorado every year. I became "his" mechanic and he would always be sure I was working before he brought the car in for service, yes in his white suit. He lived in Seymour, Indiana. What a nice fellow he was. I was an idiot… should have asked him for a job. I could be a chicken king myself by now! I moved on to other work and lost contact in 1974. I always enjoy seeing his photo in the restaurants. It brings back good memories of the Colonel.
As a boy, my family never had a lot of money. I grew up in the 60's and early 70's. My mother was a great cook, but every now and then she would insist that my Father take us out to eat. We were in Minneapolis at the time and there was one McDonalds, a White Castle, and a couple other drive-ins were we would eat. Then when I turned 14 or 15 my older brother's friends got jobs at the one KFC that was hiring. They said that they were not told the recipe, but the chicken was good. Finally one day, coming home from school my dad had stopped at KFC and brought home the chicken, and I was hooked. That's close to 40 years ago, and to this day, I go into the KFC in the town where I live and have the chicken. The crew knows me by name and I know them by name. Down through the years I have wondered how the Colonel developed the recipe. I like to think that it was passed down in his family where it had been first used by a great-great-great grandmother. It seems to have always had that sense of love in the taste. If the Colonel was still alive I think I would like to thank him for his willingness to share this gift with the rest of the world. I saw a documentary that says that there are only two people at any given time that know it. I hope they live long and fruitful lives. So, I salute you, Colonel, and the good people you have working for you. Thanks.
During the summer of 1978 (I was 9 at the time) my family and I were eating at a KFC in Cape Giardeau, Missouri, and we ordered within a few minutes of what turned out to be The Colonel and his wife. By the end of our visit to that KFC we did in fact confirm that it was indeed Harland Sanders and he was gracious enough to grant us an autograph. I was the one privileged to be appointed to ask him for the autograph, and just before he signed the autograph he spoke the very thought-provoking words: “I'm not who you think I am.” Well, he surely WAS the real Harland Sanders, this fact having been confirmed in what he wrote down. He was a remarkable human being who produced what is TO THIS DAY my favorite food of all - his Original Recipe™ chicken. The Colonel was not hard to identify — as usual, he was dressed in the white suit and the black tie. It was a great honor to meet him.
The Colonel was my great uncle. My dad Lee Cummings’ mother and the Colonel were brother and sister. They had one more brother who died at the age of 18 months. My dad started out with the Colonel and was the first President of KFC. My brother used to mix the spices up in barrels and bagged them in our garage. To this day, I can still smell the spice. There are only a few people who have the real recipe. The Colonel had a heart for children and older people. He help built a church in Louisville, Ky. He was a funny man but took his gravy seriously. My mom had a store in Whitehaven, Tenn., and when we knew he was coming, everyone got busy. He would give to the poor and he loved life. At the top of my stairs I have a huge oil painting of him sitting in a rocking chair. He would say if you retire, you would die. I know my dad Lee Cummings traveled a lot opening up stores and helping his Uncle to get KFC going. We moved from Tennessee to Kentucky so dad could be with the Colonel and to be in the office. I loved him and miss him. He was a great man with a heart of gold.
Back in the late 60's I was playing in a country band in Winston Salem, N.C. We were invited to play at the grand opening of a new restaurant and the Colonel was there. We started playing a square dance song and the Colonel got out there and started dancing and everyone was havving a ball. He was really good. Wonderful gentleman.
I met the Colonel in July, 1971. I was at the Steam Show Era in Milton, Ontario, Canada. I had gone with my parents and my three young children. We had watched the parade of vehicles that were run by steam in the morning and then we decided to go to KFC for lunch before taking in the afternoon festivities at the fair grounds. The Colonel was there greeting all the customers and giving each child a Colonel Sanders bank.
My mother became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1967. One day we went to the courthouse in Lexington, Ky., for her swearing in as a citizen. I was in first grade at the time and mad because she made me miss a day of school. Sitting and fuming and as mad as a six year old can be, this man sat next to me in the pew. I looked up and it was Colonel Sanders. He looked down and smiled at me and as much as mom wanted me to watch her "pledge her allegiance." I just stared at him the entire time. He kept looking down at me like "quit looking at me and watch your mom." He gave me a hug after it was over.
I was one of the first people to meet the Colonel and recieve my franchise from him personally. I flew from Upper Michigan and was supposed to land in Shelbyville, Ky., but fell asleep and ended up in Shelbyville, Tenn., and had to rent a car and drive to Nashville to fly to Kentucky, I have had my franchise for 45 and a half years and have enjoyed every moment, and still enjoy eating chicken as often as I can.
I loved working for KFC. I started working at the Garden City, Mich. store at 14 years old with working papers from school... Read More
I loved working for KFC. I started working at the Garden City, Mich. store at 14 years old with working papers from school. I worked 1 1/2 hours a night mopping the floors and cleaning the bathrooms. I worked my way up to General Manager of 5 KFC's. The 5th store in Fenton, Mich. I opened myself. I went to a manager training course I believe in 1975! I won a Director's Award and also had my picture taken with Col. Sanders in his office in front of the fireplace. That is my treasure of the 13 years I worked for KFC! I quit and moved to Calif. in 1981. I still love KFC to this day and cook a lot of chicken at home also. Lots of very fond memories!
My mother, brother and I were on our own after my parents divorced. We left Chicago, and moved back to Ames, Iowa to be closer to my grandparents. We didn't go out to eat very often -- money was still tight. So any venture out to get food was always a special occasion! One of our favorite treats was piling in the old, tan Falcon station wagon and heading over to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Back in the day, our KFC was a drive-in, so we'd pull into our spot, and sit perfectly still while Mom would place our order. While we were waiting, my brother and I would hunker down -- one on the floor in the back seat, and one in the open cargo area in the back of the car. And then we were gone. Sometimes, we'd be flying through space in a rocket to the moon. Or maybe discovering dark, mysterious caves filled with fantastic hidden treasure. Then, we'd be in our own submarine, floating past whales and dolphins, all in the magical depths of the ocean that was our imagination. We could be everywhere, we could be anywhere! But we knew that the only food that could sustain us was coming to us in those fragrant and unique red and white boxes, still hot to the touch, filled with steamy chicken goodness. There, I had my very own chicken leg, and my own container of the best mashed potatoes and gravy ever enjoyed by a starving frontier explorer. I always saved my roll and honey for the end -- the warm, soft bread that took the last savory juices from the chicken still on my fingers, and sweetened them with just the slightest hint of honey that spilled over the edges. Now you know why the Colonel put those terrific little wet towelettes in there. He must have had kids (read brave, intrepid explorers) in the back seat, too.
I met him in a KFC store in 1966. He was such a sweet man. He had the brightest smile. I will never forget it. He gave me a little advice on success and as a young child, it stuck with me. He told me to never give up. Good things come to those who wait.
My beloved father worked for KFC. It was his first manager's job. He said that Colonel Sanders was the nicest man he had every met. The Colonel gave my dad a pair of shirt cufflinks just before he passed away. I still to this day have those, as my father has passed on as well.
In the early 1970s I was working on Yonge Street in Toronto, at the Canadian Distributors for the German Company Leica. The KFC Headquarters were located right across the street. I often frequented the Restaurant in the Building. One summer day I met the Colonel standing at the curb, waiting for his limousine. Naturally, we shook hands and exchanged a few friendly words. He looked exactly like anyone would expect him to look. There was and still is no way not to recognize "The Colonel!" Today I am a Customs Broker and, to my great pride, Yum Brands is one of our Clients.
Hey KFC here is a picture of myself with the Colonel at Cohuna Wildlife Park in Perth Australia. It must have been taken in 1976 I think!
I started working for my Grandfather Evin Hanks in the sumer of 1957 as a bus boy. I was still in school and after I graduated I went to work in the 122nd. & Gleason full service KFC restaurant in Portland Oregon. I first met the Colonel when he was on one of his visits to our restaurant. We called the restaurant The Speck KFC Resaurants. The company eventually grew to abou 32 stores including the ones in Eugene,Oregon. One day about 3 months after my son was born the Colonel visited the restaurant I was working in. My wife brought the baby down to see the Colonel and of course he wanted to hold him. My wife let him and the Colonel proceeded to take the baby to all the customers for them to see. The place was packed and of course the Colonel was having the time of his life showing off the baby. The Colonel always reminded of the visit every time I saw him during the next several years. I eventually was moved up to a supervisory capacity until 1975 when I left to follow my own business ventures.
My father, Colie L Wilson, got a new job in Puerto Rico in 1961. We moved from High Point NC to Bayamon, Puerto Rico. One weekend soon after we moved we rode down to the beach at Levittown, Puerto Rico. While there we saw a new Kentucky Fried Chicken was having a Grand Opening. The store was right across from the beach.
My father, Colie L Wilson, got a new job in Puerto Rico in 1961. We moved from High Point NC to Bayamon, Puerto Rico. One weekend soon after we moved we rode down to the beach at Levittown, Puerto Rico. While there we saw a new Kentucky Fried Chicken was having a Grand Opening. The store was right across from the beach. We stopped and to our surprise the Colonel was there. I took several pictures of him with my family. I just found one with my sister and brother.
I was a six or seven year-old boy in 1965 or '66. I was out wandering the neighborhood one day and noticed a big commotion at a new restaurant in Grand Junction, Colorado. Being the curious type, I went in to see what was going on. There stood The Colonel. I had seen this man on TV! He shook my hand and was very kind to me. He asked where my folks were, and I told him that I just lived in the neighborhood and was curious what all the excitement was. My parents didn't know where I was. He told me that I shouldn't wander too far from home. I told him I only lived a couple of blocks away. Then he handed me a piece of his marvelous chicken! A thigh. To this day it is my favorite piece of the bird.
We were very poor and grew up in a public housing project on Detroit's east side. They built a new Kentucky Fried Chicken at the corner of Anderdon and East Warren across form where we lived. It was a special treat when we earned enough money from odd jobs to be able to afford to buy a chicken meal. I also remember we could get a box of French fries for 30 cents at that time. I even remember the manager throwing in a few extra fries so we could share them. This would have been around 1965. The Colonel was visiting the store one afternoon and saw us kids outside looking in and treated us to a meal. It is wonderful to read the stories here, he truly cared about and respected people regarless of their means. We learned it was true as it is stated in his story he "would never pass anybody up."
Many years ago, I was in Clearwater, Fla., and there was going to be a Luau party at the Holiday Inn where we were staying. We went to the party and they announced that Colonel Sanders and his wife were there celebrating their anniversary, and they walked around the party to meet people.
I'm from Shelbyville. Our family store, Biagi's, was a regional Frigidaire franchise. As such, all residential, commercial and automotive refrigeration systems were our responsibility to maintain for many years. The Colonel had this light pink '57 Cadillac Coupe DeVille with a General Motors Frigidaire air conditioning unit. In the days before all the dealers had A/C repair equipment, they would bring their cars to my Dad, Hugh Biagi, for recharging. It seemed like every Spring from about 1961 to 1964 the Colonel brought his '57 to dad. He'd back it in our loading area across from Science Hill Inn and we'd (I) would hook up the vacuum pump, evacuate the system, then recharge it. The Colonel would stay about an hour each time. He would mostly be wearing shorts and a Hawaiiin shirt, not the white suit, on those days. His next car was a white 1964 Cadillac Sedan which he kept for years. He also played with an old Rolls Royce for a couple of years during the mid '60s, but the A/C unit didn't work so he got rid of it. Other connections I had to the Colonel is that our next door neighbor on Midland Trail ran a KFC franchise in the mid '60,s. On the eve of the 1966 revival of the 'Tobacco Festival' parade, the Colonel was at their home late that evening helping build a parade float. Our family farm on Highway 53 is the farm next to the Colonel's last residence. As he was preparing to move there, he had many large, balled trees planted. Those were, at the time, the largest transplanted trees I had ever seen. Several of my sisters worked at the Colonel's Lady's Dinner house in the 1970s and it was common to see him there daily. The last time I saw the Colonel before I moved to Iowa was on July 4th, 1977. We had a family campout the evening before and I was leaving the main gate that morning. Here comes the Colonel's white '70-something Lincoln, but instead of Mr. Miller driving...the Colonel himself was in the car ...driving alone! Now I though that was a bit unusual.
The Colonel was a tough old codger. The year escapes me, as I have suddenly become and old codger myself, but it had to be about 1963-64. While working my way through pharmacy school, I was employed for the Big Boy Hamburer franchise in Fargo, North Dakota as a fry cook. I distinctly remember my boss telling me that he had just acquired the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise for his fast food establishment. I also remember going home and telling my wife that no one in their right mind would put fried chicken in a hamburger joint. Wow, was I wrong!!! The opening day had miles of cars trying to buy that wonderful Kentucky Fried Chicken. We were the only game in ND. Now, one has to understand that when it is January in North Dakota and the temperature is zero or below, both trees in North Dakota have little effect on the velocity of the wind blowing across the tundra. Folks, it was just plain cold and up drives this Rolls Royce with that gold Kentucky Fried Chicken lettering on the doors. I began to think this is a little over the top. To think that a man from Kentucky, remember it's warm in Kentucky even in the winter, would brave the sub-zero temperatures to stand outside the window to welcome and shake hands with everyone who drove through was something to behold. There he stood in his big ole furry parka, with his now familiar white hair, moustache and goatee, smiling and talking to everyone who drove through.
I guess I never thought about what a southern Santa Claus would look like, but he surely personified what that would be. To make a long story, longer. Since I was the hamburger fry cook and nobody was buying hamburgers that day, my boss designated me to be the personal caretaker of the Colonel. My main job was to see that he never ran out of hot chocolate and that I did with precise, accurate and timely precision. The most important part of my job, however, was to be sure that the Colonel was properly entertained and cared for during his few and short breaks from the frigid, wind blown temperatures. Now for those of you who knew him, there was no entertaining him; he was the entertainer. I sat with him, intently listening, as he told me his story of how to start a franchise and make it successful. "Boy," he said as I sat there in awe, "You've got to remember that you are never too old to start a new project, and don't ever forget that!" Words I cherish and respect to this day. What a wonderful experience and most importantly what a wonderful southern gentleman. I just had some KFC wings last night and still love that secret recipe on the chicken.
My Dad worked for the Colonel's nephew Harland Adams in Florida and we would be invited to the Colonel's birthday parties. One party I remember was at Walt Disney World and we rode a paddle wheel boat to the Contemporary. The attached picture is me with the Colonel on the boat. When the cake was brought out my 5 year old brother Tony was standing close to the Colonel.
My Dad worked for the Colonel's nephew Harland Adams in Florida and we would be invited to the Colonel's birthday parties. One party I remember was at Walt Disney World and we rode a paddle wheel boat to the Contemporary. The attached picture is me with the Colonel on the boat. When the cake was brought out my 5 year old brother Tony was standing close to the Colonel. The Colonel bent down and picked Tony up and gave him the first bite of his cake.
I met Colonel Sanders through his daughter Margaret in 1964 or 1965. I was building KFC stores at the time and at one point the Colonel offered me the whole state of North Carolina but he wanted me to relocate and I decided to stay in Florida and was awarded the entire Dade County provided I build five stores in 18 months. I managed to accomplish that goal and during my expansion, the Colonel visited me with a tale that he heard that I was not using approved products. I invited him to inspect and he visited all my stores and found no truth to the allegations. I remember telling him that I wouldn't dare change his procedures since I couldn't equal or improve his product. A tear came to his eye and the following day he came to me and gave me a gold pin with a diamond inserted in it. We became friends and he came to my home and posed with my family. I also visited him in Shelbyville and spent one night as a guest in his house. He gave me a portrait of himself and inscribed a message which hangs in my home and has since 1965.
I worked for KFC from 1968 thru 1974, putting myself through high school and college in So Illinois. I started as a counter girl, worked up to manager and district manager. In 1970 or 71 Col Sanders came to the St. Louis area and wanted to meet some of the area managers and owners. The owner and one other manager and I went over and met with him in his motor home in St. Louis. To say he was a "colorful" and amusing gentleman is an understatement. What a delight, he was very encouraging that a young girl was working herself through college and managing a few stores. I learned the value and pride of hard work with my affiliation with KFC. I have taken those early life lessons and now own a successful produce brokerage business that interestingly has an affiliation with KFC.
I was privileged to meet Colonel Sanders while working for a firm that owned about 75 KFC restaurants and I had my picture taken with him at the time.. He seemed eager to meet every employee from the janitor to the President.
While attending the 1975 Pegasus Parade in Louisville, I was walking with my son, Kevin, heading for the parade route. I saw Colonel Sanders walking toward the parade vehicles, as he was to be in the parade. When I asked if I could get a picture, he agreed and took my son's hand for the photo. My son, now 38, has dressed as "The Colonel" at Halloween several times, and wears this photo as a pin on his costume.
While attending the 1975 Pegasus Parade in Louisville, I was walking with my son, Kevin, heading for the parade route. I saw Colonel Sanders walking toward the parade vehicles, as he was to be in the parade. When I asked if I could get a picture, he agreed and took my son's hand for the photo. My son, now 38, has dressed as "The Colonel" at Halloween several times, and wears this photo as a pin on his costume.
I had spent the month of October 1972 on emergency leave from Vietnam. There had been a chance that I could lose my wife and daughter in childbirth. All went well, and on Halloween day I was flying out of Cleveland, Ohio to San Diego, California. My Dad was first to notice the Colonel sitting, waiting for the same flight I was waiting on. We boarded, and oddly enough the only thing separating the Colonel from me was the aisle. Shortly after take-off a stewardess (yes, they were called stewardesses in 1972) came down the aisle pushing a drink cart. When she stopped beside us, she asked the Colonel if he cared for something to drink. "I believe I'll have a buttermilk if you have it," he replied. The stewardess said there was no buttermilk on the cart, but that she would go back to the galley to see if there was any there. In a few minutes she returned with buttermilk in hand. The Colonel got off the plane in Phoenix, Arizona. I continued on to San Diego. But from Cleveland to Phoeniz I had the pleasure of chatting with the King of Chicken himself. It was a terrific flight!
I remember being very young in the late 50's and going with my grandpa to Mr. Sanders' restaurant once a month. My grandparents only came to town once every month from a little place called Corncreek , Ky., to get supplies and take care of business. Mr. Sanders knew my grandpa and they would talk for what seemed like hours. He would always give me some candy after we ate. Later in 1968 I became an employee of KFC in Pleasant Ridge, Ohio. I started out as dishwasher and worked my way to top cook. Back then we used single pressure cooker pots, 16 in a row. You had to be fast and clean back then. It was great learning experience! I love KFC chicken still to this day!
I started working for KFC in 1966. They were the good times. I met the Colonel in 1967 when the new store was built. He held my daughter. She pulled his beard and the old man laughed. That's one man I had respect for.
I was about 10 years old and riding bikes with my cousin Jimmy in St Louis Park, MN. We were on our way to the mall to shop at Music Land and there was an older man dressed all in white and driving a big white Cadillac. I stopped and said he looked like the 'Chicken Man' he laughed and asked what we were up to and we told him we were going to buy a record from money our Grandma gave us. Records were 25 cents than and the Colonel gave us each a shiny 50-cent piece. I took mine back to Grandma who didn't believe that the "Chicken man" would be at our strip mall. I had that 50-cent piece for years and would look to make sure that no one took it from my Grandma but when she passed -- there went my 50-cent piece. I always wanted to know what happened to it. Maybe my Grandma's kids diviided all her stuff and didn't know about the shiny 50-cent piece given to me by the "Chicken man."
Every summer my aunt and I went special places to celebrate summer and my birthday. Around the early 70's we went to Catalina Island, also known as Avalon, California. One evening, we looked for a nice place to have a good meal on my birthday and lo and behold, we went into the Kentucky Fried Chicken. As we were eating, I looked up and saw a white haired gentleman with a white beard smiling at us as my aunt and I talked about our day. I smiled at the man and all of a sudden realized it was Colonel Sanders. I gave a little wave (as kids do) and grabbed my aunt's arm and said, "It's him, that's Colonel Sanders." She turned and smiled at him as well. I never enjoyed a birthday meal like that one, fondly remembering that memory with my aunt and the Colonel. We never actually "met" him but the smile and wave showed the kind man I always thought was him.
I met the Colonel when he did business with my employer, Grainger's. He inquired about exhaust fans for use at his franchises. I showed him several and he purchased two. We loaded them in his car which was an old funeral car. He had removed the jump seats and the rear seat and used it as a way to haul things around.
He made a number of trips to get more fans. He asked me if I wanted to buy 100 shares of his stock for $1,500. I made a mistake and didn't do that. I thought the old fellow was just too old to be starting a business. I later met a woman in Shelbyville who told me the shares were worth $30,000.
He was very worried about the problem of sediment in the cooking oil. He had a fellow named Moore who helped the Colonel develop a filter which they patented. The system recycled the cooking oil and removed the sediment, keeping the oil much fresher. They came to see me about buying electric motors for that system and they bought many of those from me too. I believe the filtration system was a real turning point in the business. The Colonel also told me several times how he regretted his lack of a formal education. He thrived by having good work habits, endurance and above all a strong belief in himself.
I was five when I went to the doctor's office in Danville, Ill., with my grandmother. I was on the floor playing with my grandmother's shoelaces, when Colonel Sanders said to me, "Here little girl, you can play with this." He gave me a balloon (the kind where the sides look like the outside of a figure eight) with his head on it. I blew it up and tied it, and put it in the shoe-shaped holder, which made it stand up. I wish I still had it.
In the 1970's, as you know Colonel Harland Sanders and Claudia lived in Hurstbourne on the hill. There would be many nights I would visit friends in the Hurstbourne area and I would always see Colonel Sanders sitting at the table in the front room window of their home (I could see him from the street driving by) and he would have his white suit and black tie on, which further acknowledges his untiring concern and pitchman for KFC. Thank you.
When I was about seven, around Christmas of 1976, Colonel Sanders came to our church, First Christian Church of Jeffersonville, Indiana. He was a friend of our minister, Rev. Casey, and he was to participate in our Christmas pageant by sitting in a rocking chair and telling the Christmas story, as we acted it out. I was to play Mary, but in the minutes before the service started I had to use the bathroom. Colonel Sanders was sitting out on a bench in the area right outside the sanctuary. I asked him if he could hold baby Jesus for me. Bless his heart, he sat there, holding my doll, perfectly serene and dignified, while I went to the bathroom. If anyone asked, he said he was holding Jesus until Mary got back. That was one of the most memorable Christmas pageants I have ever been in!
Gravy on the suit. Louisville, Ky., 1972. I started as a cook in Scottsdale, AZ,, working for a great friend, Grady Auten. He, along with Chuck King and Dave Whittaker (all managers) moved me along the career path to end up in Louisville right after John Y. Brown aquired the company from the Colonel. I worked in the training department in that famous white three-story building just off the interstate. But on to the gravy part of the story.
Several times a week, the Colonel would arrive for pictures with guests. He would be in the lobby until the guests were gone and then he would sneak off to the test kitchen on the first floor.
It was in the test kitchen that the Colonel's famous gravy (made from "cracklins'') was undergoing a more modern pre-packaging test. Being the perfectionist he was and known for being a bit salty, he would taste the concoction being tested and if not happy, the Colonel would throw the pot on the floor with a few choice words. More than once, the gravy (or concoction) would land on his white suit. I would get a call from the test kitchen to "please rescue us, can you get the Colonel out of here, and by the way, he will need a new suit!" Fotunately, we kept a few clean suits in a dressing closet, and in no time, had the Colonel back in the lobby for more pictures. I was honored to have personaly worked with the Colonel. I went on to become an Area Director for KFC in Nashville, Tenn., before returning to Phoenix years later.
In the early 70s, I was living in the Chicago area and was traveling North on I-294 to a destination south of Milwaukee, Wis. As I was about to pass a black Cadillac limousine, I noted the familiar Colonel Sanders logo on the driver`s side rear door. Much to my surprise, the gentleman seated in the back seat was the Colonel himself ! As I and the occupants in my auto waved to the Colonel, he leaned forward in his seat and gave us a big wave back! The Colonel had a genuine heart-warming smile. A good man. God bless him.
The very first time I had KFC was sometime in early 1960s. It was at the Gamecock Restaurant in Carolina and they offered KFC as part of their selections on their own menu. I remember that I was the only one in the family to order it and that everyone else's food came before I got mine. But, it was worth the wait. Ive been a fan ever since.That night, Colonel Sanders himself came out to the dining room and introduced himself and stopped to talk to me about my chicken dinner. I was only about six or so, so he looked immense, but was very kind and sweet.
I do believe it was 1980 in Louisville, KY when the Dr. Jack Van Impe Ministries had a service along with a television taping done in the downtown area. Our church and another one merged our choirs together to create one big choir for the service and television taping. The night of the service, I was up on the stage gathering together and all of sudden, I turned and there was Colonel Harland Sanders standing right there. My hand just went out to him to shake it as if I was drawn to someone that made you feel so at home for a moment. He immediately shook my hand and looked at me and smiled sincerely. I will always remember that moment.
Shortly after Heublein acquired KFC, the Colonel was due to visit our facilities in Hartford CT. The Data Center, where I worked, was located down the street from the main buiding in a converted bowling alley. I always went to work early and only lived a mile from the building. A few blocks away from the building I found myself side by side with the Colonel being chauffered to our buidling for the visit. I looked at the driver and the Colonel and they were looking at me. The race was on. I gunned it and out-dragged them for the two blocks to the building. We got out of our cars and headed for the door. The Colonel, with his famous smile, opened the building door for me, holding it open with his cane, as acknowledgement of my victory of the race. I saw him later in the day and we shared aother moment about the race as our eyes met. I guess I may be the only person to ever have a drag race with Colonel Sanders.
As a teenager, in the late 1960's and early 1970's, I worked at the soda fountain at Eckerd's Drug Store in Myrtle Beach, SC. The town of Myrtle Beach always had the Sun Fun Festival the first week of June, with a lively parade. Colonel Sanders was the parade Grand Marshal one summer and stopped in at the Eckerd's soda fountain to cool off, after riding in the parade. I had the opportunity to wait on him and make him a homemade chocolate milkshake! He was such a nice old gentleman, but I was so young that I did not strike up a conversation with him...don't remember what kind of tip he left me...a quarter was HUGE in those days and in that place!
I was a medical student at University of Louisville, Ky from 1967 - 1974. During those years I met Colonel Sanders several times. I bumped into him a few times at Jewish Hospital wherre he had some of his medical care. But I also saw and spoke with him at The Colonel's Lady Restaurant. He apparently had set his wife up as an owner and manager of a more upscale restaurant and he was the official greeter. He was always pleasant and had some pleasant conversation for whomever he met. He was a first class gentleman and I'll never forget the times that I met him. He deserved all the success of his business ventures.
I used to work at International Harvester in Louisvile, Ky and lived in Southern Indiana. Many mornings driving south through Louisiville I would see the Colonel driving along I 65 in Downtown Louisville. He had on his white suit and drove a large white Cadilac and of course had the white hair and beard. He too was on his way to work at the headquarters just off the Waterson Expressway in Lousiville. I met him and his wife one time in Shelbyville, Ky., at their restaurant, the Claudia Sanders Dinner House, aka The Colonel's Lady. He stopped at every table and was a most personable gentleman. The restaurant supplied meals home style in a large bowl for everyone to dip out their own food, and off course they served his famous chicken.
I worked at KFC when I was 16 years old back in the early 1970's. Our store was operated by the Vorath family in Monroe MI. At the time, KFC was having a contest called "The White Glove Award," that meant that the cleanest, tidiest store won a visit from the Colonel himself. Of course, our store won and we got to meet and be photographed with Colonel Sanders. I remember him as a warm, sweet man that enjoyed meeting all of us as much as we enjoyed him.
It was around 1951 when I was about 11 years old and my parents were managing a service station/restaurant in Corbin, KY next to Sanders Motel. At that time, I didn't realize who the Colonel was and never had the opportunity to meet him. About 20 years later, my husband and I attended a Kentucky Colonel Ball in Washington, D.C. and I had the pleasure of meeting Colonel Sanders and had my picture taken with him. I've enjoyed his fried chicken for many years.
My wife and I were in a limo at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans waiting for a passenger. I looked and a lot of the staff at the hotel were on the stairs on both sides waiting for a passenger. All of a sudden I see a man coming out of the hotel in a white suit and a bow tie and I saw it was Colonel Sanders. He passed out money to each of them when he was coming down the stairs. He got in the limo and sat next to me. We talked all the way out to the airport and I have never met such an interesting man and such a friendly one who talked to the both of us all the way to the airport. I will never forget this and tell this story to other people to this day.
Many years ago while having breakfast in the Shangrila Hotel with a guest, the Colonel walked in and many of the people there greeted him with a "Good Morning, Colonel." He was in town to open the first KFC in Singapore. I explained to my guest who he was and how famous he was in the USA. My guest asked that if he was so famous, then why was he not a General.
My Steamboat Captain's license was only four months old when Captain Ernest Wagner called me to his room on the Steamer DELTA QUEEN... Read More
My Steamboat Captain's license was only four months old when Captain Ernest Wagner called me to his room on the Steamer DELTA QUEEN, after the 1971 steamboat race that we had missed because of high water on the Mississippi, and told me that I was to assume command, for the first time, of the most famous steamboat in history. Wagner's son was ailing, and Cap had to get off the DELTA QUEEN and go home. The sudden surprise of it all was still fresh when Betty Blake, General Manager of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, found me and blurted out excitedly, "Get up to the Texas Lounge, fast! Colonel Harland Sanders is coming aboard to meet you."
Moments after arriving in the third deck bar, in came the Colonel, the most recognizable man in the world at that time, and after shaking hands, the conversation went like this: Betty: "Colonel Sanders, meet Captain Sanders." Colonel Sanders: "Where ya' from?" Self: "Sanders, Kentucky." (Where my Sanders family settled in 1788.) Colonel Sanders: "Well, we're probably fourth cousins." That said, the Colonel turned on his heels and exited the Texas Lounge under the watchful eye of his driver/bodyguard and I never saw him again except on a television ad or smiling from a tub of that "finger-lickin' good" Kentucky-fried bird. My paternal gratitude goes to the good Colonel for making our name the most closely-connected family name associated, world-wide, with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. And, no, I was not remembered in the reading of his Will, although he was the one who suggested our kinship.
We went through Corbin, Ky., on US 25 to visit family in South Carolina. We stayed at his motel many times. Our supper was always fried chicken and our breakfast was country sausage and eggs. Every morning Colonel Sanders had someone wash the windows of our car to get rid of bugs. He checked you out from the motel and asked if you were pleased with your room and the food. He always mentioned the chicken.
In 1955 and 1956 I worked at Sanders Cafe in Corbin, Kentucky. At 20 years of age, I was the youngest employee at the time. My sister, Launa Wilder, also worked there. She was 18 years older than I was. We both worked the breakfast and lunch shift. We worked well together. Breakfast began being served at 6 a.m., which meant we had to be there at 5:45 a.m. We wore a white uniform with white shoes. Our hands and nails had to be clean and our hair was worn in a neat fashion. The Sanders Motel was near the restaurant, hosting a variety of salesmen and people on vacation. This meant they all wanted to get on the road early. The food at the restaurant was good. We served pancakes, called "Butterthins," and hot syrup was a part of each order. I can almost taste them now just thinking about them. The Kentucky Ham, red eye gravy, eggs and biscuits were superb.
The busiest weekend of the year was when the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee played football. Mr. Sanders, as the employees called him, came in about the same time each morning. He always wore a white suit and his mustache was always perfect. He always made his way into the kitchen to talk with Frank, the chef and "Little Laura," the baker. Frank was a nice size man and he put out really good food. "Little Laura" was so short she had to stand on a soft drink case in order to roll out the biscuits and make the pies, which were so good.
If any waitress, as we were called back then, did anything that Mr. Sanders didn't approve of he never embarrassed any of us. He would talk with Eula Gibson, the dining room manager, and she would inform us as to what we were doing incorrectly. Mr. Sanders always walked to the restaurant. I can never remember seeing him drive a car, although I know that he did. Rumors began to circulate that I-75 was not coming anywhere near the restaurant and Mr. Sanders began to talk about selling the restaurant and the motel. Mr. Sanders began to travel with his "chicken fryer" as it was called. He went to different cities and introduced his method of frying chicken. Of course the chicken was coated with flour, meal and the secret spices. That was the beginning of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Mr. Sanders sold his business in Corbin, Kentucky. In the 1990's my sister, myself and several other former employees attended the ceremonies to dedicate "Sanders Café" as a museum. Each employee in attendance was individually recognized. Kentucky Fried Chicken can still be ordered at the Sanders Cafe Museum today.
I worked for KFC when I was 16 years old (a long, long, time ago). In fact, I worked at the first KFC in California. I transferred to the KFC in Newark, California in 1968. It was by far the best place I ever worked. The Burnham family ran it and they were wonderful people. They gave us time off to go to our Proms and school events and the Colonel even helped me when I went to college. I met the Colonel only one time. He was so friendly and told me what a great job I was doing. I truly believe that the experience I had working at KFC helped mold me into the caring person I try to be every day. Thanks Colonel Sanders, Ben and Evelyn.
I met Colonel Sanders at age 18 in 1977 working in one of his stores in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colonel Sanders challenged me to produce a 3 piece meal made to his satisfaction. Needless to say, I was trained very well, and for my efforts was pictured in my red and white uniform with Colonel Sanders. He told me to follow my dreams and never give up -- great advice for everyone and anyone. He checked everything in our store, front to back, top to bottom. He was certainly an incredible man at an incredible time. I value the picture I have with him. He never gave up!
In 1965, I was proudly serving my country in the U.S. Army and stationed in Ft. Knox, KY. After receiving a 48-hour pass to be off base, a group of us in uniform decided to head into Louisville for the weekend. During this excursion, we noticed the opening of a new restaurant serving chicken and decided to get a closer look, and see what the place was all about. Upon entering the establishment, we were greeted by a distinguished looking gentleman in a white suit, saying "Welcome to Kentucky Fried Chicken." He said his name was Colonel something and he invited us in to eat, "On the House."
He said, "A man in uniform was worth a free meal!" The Army didn't pay very well back then, so we were much obliged for his hospitality. The chicken really was "Finger Lickin' Good" and we didn't even know what that meant back then. After the meal, we thanked him for some of the best chicken we had ever had, and he thanked us for our service and asked us to come by again. When we got back to base, we told everyone about the great experience. About three weeks later, we went back for more Kentucky Fried Chicken, and I have been enjoying KFC for more than 46 yrs now. All I can say is, it's still like the first time, everytime!
In the summer of '53 my Dad had just started working for a Rural Electric Cooperative, cutting right of ways for new power lines along the back roads in Laurel County, KY. One day as his work crew was taking their lunch break an elderly gentleman stopped his car beside the road where they were eating and said to the crew that for a small investment in his new business they would never have to work that hard again. Well, needless to say none of them jumped at the opportunity. A decade later they were all kicking themselves when they were enjoying The Colonel's Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I was perhaps 12 years old, walking home from the dentist. A new Kentucky Fried Chicken was being built on my path home. A helicopter circled overhead and landed in the parking lot just as I approached. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Colonel Sanders in his beautiful white suit with odd black tie and bright white goatee get out to survey the new restaurant himself. Though just a kid, I thought he was just a maketing gimmick but there he was, in flesh and blood, looking over his new achievement.
In the early 60's the Colonel came to my Father's and Uncle's machine shop with a design for an experimental pressure cooker. I was working there during the summer while in high school and was there when he and some of his people brought several hundred pounds of chicken to fry in the cookers. The smell was great and attracted kids from the neighborhood to see what was happening. When they started to get free chicken they took off and came back with grocery carts to load what chicken they could get. The Colonel had sent me to get a couple of cases of Coca-Cola to give the kids while they were eating the chicken. Everyone was having a great time.
Unfortunately the design wasn't working as well as he wanted so we didn't get a contract to build any more. When the Colonel left, he forgot his gold-tipped cane with a diamond in it. My Uncle called and told him where it was and he came back and picked it up.
When I was a young teen, the Colonel took me to a Kathryn Kuhlman Revival. I remember sitting close to the stage and witnessing miracles all evening. At the end, Colonel Sanders stood on stage and shared his testimony. Driving home, he told all of us in the car to remember that night, not judge folks and become somebody who gives a damn.
Years later I worked at Indian Silversmith upstairs in Oxmoor Center, Louisville. The Colonel had his suits made next door but didn't like their tailor's room. He saw me in the jewelry store and said, "You're RL's girl, aren't you?" After that, every time he would visit the suit store, he'd wait in the back of my jewelry store while his people would go get the tailors to come help him. He was sweet, quirky and had a great memory.
First of all, let me say I am proud to be a Kentucky Colonel. This honor was bestowed upon me by Kentucky Governor Wallace G. Wilkinson. Secondly, I was born in London, Kentucky and Laurel County, home to the original Kentucky Fried Chicken where the recipe was founded. Also where the World Chicken Festival is held each year in September to honor and celebrate the Colonel's great recipe. Several years ago I was asked to be a judge in the Colonel Sanders look-alike contest. That particular year Colonel Sanders' daughter was also a judge in the contest and I sat beside her. I greatly enjoyed telling her about my meeting her father in the summer of 1967. Funny, considering all the above I actually met the Colonel in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I spent the summer most years with my father and stepmother in Cincinnati. That year I was 16 years old and decided it was time to get a summer job. My stepmother took me to Carter's Restaurant on Montgomery Road to apply for a job and I was hired as a dishwasher and later fried chicken in the large pressure cookers. Carter's was one of the early franchisees that served the Colenel's chicken. I heard all kinds of stories about Colonel Sanders and how he had been known to come in and taste items to see if they met his approval. Some said he had actually put items in the trash that he didn't think passed muster.
There was a designated booth in the dining room where we all sat when we took our breaks. One day the manager, Chuck came out of the kitchen and sat down with me. Along with him was the famous Colonel. I talked with him for about 20 minutes and told him about my connection to Laurel County. He remarked, "Isn't that just the funniest thing?" I remember his car parked outside. It was a Cadillac with decals of his face on both sides. Sorry to be so windy, but I really enjoyed telling about these great memories.
When our oldest son was about two years old (1973), we used to go to the Colonel's Lady restaurant on Sundays and take our son with us. The Colonel would usually be there eating and would have our son come over and talk to him and let him play with his cane. He would always have candy for our son and the other children. He was a very nice man and very kind. God Bless him. We'll never forget how kind he was to our child.
In the early 60's while a student at WKU my date and I were eating in a restaurant that served his chicken. The Colonel was there visiting with the diners. While he was talking to us, my date asked him if his chicken (which we were eating) was "Finger Licking Good," why he gave the diners the little towelettes to wipe their fingers. His reply was something to the effect of "Honey, you got me on that one."
I was a commercial actress in the 1970's and was a principal performer in a Kentucky Fried Chicken national commercial shot in Los Angeles. The Colonel was on the set all day for the shoot -- overseeing and giving input. Everyone working on the commercial was amazed to hear he was still flying about 100,000 miles a year promoting his stores. I think he was close to 80 years old then! He was an inspiration.
Many years ago, sometime around the mid 1950s, while preparing meals in our Shepherdsville, Ky., restaurant called "The Meadows," an old-looking, large automobile pulled in behind our restaurant. Now bear in mind my mother was (is) in charge.
Enter Harland Sanders. Mr. Sanders proceeded to promote his chicken seasonings. Mother wasn't interested. Mr. Sanders wouldn't take no for an answer and continued his presentation very enthusiastically. Finally, he pushed Mother's button.
She looked straight on and said, "Old man, I have been cooking chicken all my life. I don't need you to tell me how to cook chicken. Now get out of my kitchen."
He went on to be a multi-millionaire and we went out of business.
In 1952 when Pete Harman became the Colonel's first fried chicken franchisee, the first order of the day was to create a menu. So a photographer was hired, and also a commercial illustrator. That illustrator was Pat Denner of Salt Lake City.
"I got a call from Pete Harman," recalls Mr. Denner. "He said he had just struck a deal with a man who says he makes the best fried chicken in the world."
Denner grabbed his pencils and brushes and drove out to South State Street. There he was introduced to Mr. Sanders, who sat for a portrait. The result was an image destined to be reproduced time and again the world over!
Hardly anyone recognizes the name Pat Denner, but he is responsible for some of the most widely-viewed artworks in the world. For example, he's the one who designed Vegas Vic for the Pioneer Club in Las Vegas -- an image that is instantly recognized as an icon of Las Vegas.
Pat Denner is entirely self-taught. During World War II, he worked for the U.S. Navy as an illustrator, along with several Disney artists. In between drawing schematics for torpedoes, he practiced caricatures. So he was well-prepared for his fateful encounter with Mr. Sanders.
I'm happy to report Pat Denner is still kicking and still active.
The Colonel and my father Bob Heinz were 33rd degree Masons together. My mom was taking a photo of the two of them and said "say cheese," and the Colonel leaned in and said, "the word is chicken." As a teenager at Atherton High School, I would be at the Mall or walking on Bardstown Road and there he was, The Colonel, walking around in his white suit.
I have a "Colonel Sanders for President" bumper sticker that I have had for longer than I can remember. I think I might have got it sometime in the 70s.
How neat! just so happened in the earlier part of the 60s I was at a local hangout called the Tastee Freez in Monticello, Ky., and an older man in a nice white suit went into our restaurant I wanted some others to go in with me but they chose not to. Not me; I went. I sat and talked to him at least 2-3 hours about chicken and building a restaurant in Monticello. (He hadn't made up his mind whether to or not.) No one came in and we had a great talk and shared two double plates of French fries with ketchup and salt and sodas. It was a very enjoyable talk and one I won't ever forget. P.S. He chose not to build the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant at that time.
Colonel Sanders stole my iced tea! The Colonel was a great friend of the Boy Scouts. In the mid 70's, I was a subcamp commissioner at the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill in Va. , where it was hot, dusty, and humid -- very uncomfortable. The Army provided a lot of logistical support to us including large, company size wall tents for our subcamp staff. One day, i was working at a table in one of these large tents when the Colonel and his entourage came through. I looked up and, of course, recognized him immediately. He clearly was distressed fom the heat. He walked in, sat down next to my table, grabbed my ice tea and guzzled it down.
For Easter of 1975 our extended family gathered at Claudia Sanders's restaurant, The Colonel's Lady, for dinner. Our youngest son... Read More
For Easter of 1975 our extended family gathered at Claudia Sanders's restaurant, The Colonel's Lady, for dinner. Our youngest son, Josh, was 7 months old and in a high chair. As we ate, managed our other two sons and entertained Josh, Colonel Sanders walked by and noticed our activities. He told us to enjoy our meal while he watched the baby. With that he picked up Josh and strolled away. With some hesitation we finished our dinner and then went looking for the two of them. To our surprise, the hostess directed us to the "ham room" where the Colonel sat rocking Josh and talking with an associate. What a great experience!
The Colonel worked with my father H.P. Sunny Sundstrom in the early 1960's selling chicken out of a restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii, called Kau Kau Korner, which my father owned for 25 years. In the biography of the Colonel on Cable T.V. in the segment about him attending the restaurant convention and selling his franchise, there is a shot of my father and stepmother wearing many Hawaiian leis seated at one of the tables. After my father passed away, I ran into the Colonel when he was making an appearance at a KFC establishment in Monrovia, California. I walked up to him and said, "My name is Carl Sundstrom. Does that mean ,anything to you?" He immediately stood up and hugged me and said, "You must be Sunny's boy." He went on to tell me what great times he had with my father in Hawaii. He was a very nice man and I was happy to have met him, because my father talked about him all the time.
My family ran Lake Shelby in Shelbyville, Ky., for years and the Colonel would come to the fish frys we had once a month. Dad would cook chicken... Read More
My family ran Lake Shelby in Shelbyville, Ky., for years and the Colonel would come to the fish frys we had once a month. Dad would cook chicken for him but us boys had got a call from him early in the week and had caught bluegills for him. He would tell Dad that was all he wanted. He would have a plate of fried bluegills about 6 inches tall. and eat every one of them. This is a picture of my brother Bobby and sister Angie and my mother Ida Hume at a fish fry.
Traveling from Dallas to Memphis we stopped at a motel overnight. A busload of inner city kids from Oklahoma were also spending night there on way home. Colonel Sanders was also a guest and I was in the desk area when he asked for paper and pen and he wrote a note authorizing any KFC store to provide food for all the kids on their trip home. I was very impressed by this act of kindness and shook his hand and thanked him, knowing the busload of kids he had never met before would eat well on their trip home.
Sometime in the early 1950's, as a child, my dad used to take me to Pete Harman's Dew Drop Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the wonderful new chicken that they had recently started serving, Kentucky Fried Chicken by Colonel Sanders. Harman's was the original franchise I believe. I can remember meeting the Colonel there on one visit when I was about 10. I live in Plano, TX now, and am a grandmother many times over, but have been a lifelong fan of the Original Recipe and now the Grilled as well. When my 93-year-old mother comes we still go for chicken. Why fry your own chicken when the Colonel does it better?
There used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on New Circle Road East in Lexington, KY. My family ate there often, but one day decided to visit the Chinese restaurant next to it, Wing's Tea House. My mother, brother and myself were getting ready to get out of the car when a car pulled up beside us. We couldn't believe our eyes when Colonel Sanders emerged from the car, in his white suit, of course.
We were astonished at our surprise celebrity siting and just sat there looking at him! It was summer and our car windows were rolled down. He graciously walked over and reached into our car and shook hands with each of us and greeted us. Every bit the Southern gentleman. He went in and we followed a couple of minutes later. He dined alone at a corner table and we never have forgotten the thrill of meeting him.
In Louisvillle, Kentucky in March of 1957, I had just started working for Southern States Iron Roofing Company (soon changed to Reynolds Aluminum Supply Co.). In an old industrial neighborhood near downtown in walked Col. Harland Sanders and one or two other folks. Col. Sanders set up his deep fryer in our office and started cooking his chicken. When finished, he took with tongs each piece, placed it on a napkin and he himself delivered his product to each person at their desk.
That was absolutely the most delicious tasting piece of cheicken I had ever had before or since. He was in his initial promotional mode taking his product to the public and what an incredible success it was.
The story I have is actually my husband Gary's, story. On the Colonel's birthday in 1970, he greeted fans in Bowling Green, Kentucky... Read More
The story I have is actually my husband Gary's, story. On the Colonel's birthday in 1970, he greeted fans in Bowling Green, Kentucky. My husband was 5 at the time. Gary's grandfather took him to see Colonel Sanders. Gary went up to the Colonel and said, "Sir, I really like your spaghetti."
The Colonel, being the affiable person that he was, grinned at my husband and said, "Yeah, I think it's pretty good, too."
Here is a picture of my husband and Colonel Sanders discussing his spaghetti.
My dad was a plumber and lived in London, Ky., on Route 192. The Colonel came to our home and asked my father if he would do plumbing for his restaurant. The Colonel said he did not have money to pay him, but for him to bring his family to KFC on Sunday and he would feed us free of charge. I remember going to eat there with my family as a small child.
During my last year in high school at Corbin Central in Corbin, Kentucky, 1958-59, I lived with my cousin Eula and her husband, Rich Rose. They both worked for the Colonel. Rich was the shipping clerk and after school, I helped him package and ship orders of spice and cookers from the garage to various franchises. Eula was the office manager, secretary, and bookkeeper in the room over the garage of the Colonel's home. But, most afternoons, I helped Eula. It was an awfully important job for a sixteen year old to type invoices for Canada and Cuba franchises. Eula Hale Rose Bolton will celebrate her 94th birthday in the Heritage Nursing Home in Corbin on August 4. Although battling cancer, she is still very sharp and with the same wicked sense of humor. The Colonel had a limited supply of patience, especially with telephone operators. She had me collect any phone receivers from the back seat of his car when he returned from business trips "so he would not get into trouble."
Colonel Sanders was a member of my church when I was just a boy in the late 70's. I had no idea at the time how world famous he was. He was just one of the congregation. I remember once he was making his way to the sanctuary and I saw him through a doorway and ran out into the hall to meet him. I knew at the time he was sort of famous and we loved KFC as a family. So I told him, "Colonel Sanders, we love your chicken!" He turned around and smiled and said something like, "That's fine, young man." I can't remember everything he said but it was a fine memory and I remember the loving smile he had. He was a very spiritual man in his later years and it was a treat to meet him. Thanks for this site.
I met the Colonel when I was working as the camp cook at Youth Haven Ranch (a camp for underprivileged children) at Rives Junction, MI. He came to the 4th of July event that was held yearly at the camp. The Colonel toured the whole camp and spent time talking to me in the kitchen. I asked him if he wanted anything special to eat that evening and he requested homemade rice pudding. Of course I made him some and he told me that it was some of the best he had ever eaten. That sure made my day.
The next day he bought everyone attending the camp (about 150 adults and children ) their own 3 piece dinner. It was so great to see him interact with the children and to see how genuine and kind a person he was.
It was in the late 50's or early 60's when I first met Colonel Sanders. My associates and I walked up Peachtree to a new cafeteria. When we walked in, there he sat in a long corner booth. When he saw us he said, "Come on over boys and lets share some chicken." It was delicious and I will never forget that nice old man and our first meeting. I sat beside him and talked for an hour.
The Colonel loved children. It was about 40 years ago and my 5 year old twin boys and I were waiting for their Mother to come down the ramp off the airplane. The Colonel and Claudia emerged first and immediately the Colonel bent down to their eye level and began talking to both of them. He had time for everybody, but especially for children.
We always did kids' birthdays at the Colonel's Lady restaurant in Simpsonville. After parking the car, I came in to find birthday daughter Blair, who has never known a stranger, sitting on the Colonel's lap and engaged in a lively conversation. When it came to dessert time, the Colonel joined the wait staff in singing "Happy Birthday." Thrilled Blair turned red and will never forget the Colonel.
After starting the world's First KFC restaurant here in Utah, a second Salt Lake City location was opened. On one of my many visits there with my grandparents in 1957 when I was six years old, Colonel Sanders came over to our table and spoke to me, telling me that he was "Santa Claus's brother." I never forgot that and have loved KFC ever since.
I grew up seeing the Colonel on a regular basis as he was my great uncle. I have many fond memories of him and remember... Read More
I grew up seeing the Colonel on a regular basis as he was my great uncle. I have many fond memories of him and remember him as always being fun to be around. I always had friends that wanted to meet him and he would always pose for pictures with us.
Once when my sister and I were working at a department store in Nashville, Tennessee, the Colonel showed up unannounced. He was only going to be in town for one night and wanted to see us. He had his driver take him to our work and they parked at the front door. The Colonel got out, walked in the front door, and demanded that my sister and I be called to the front of the store. The store manager was a bit surprised and reluctant but called for us on the intercom as requested. Of course he was in his famed white suit and his presence basically shut down the store. The store manager wanted a picture with him, but the Colonel would only agree to a picture if my sister and I were in the picture. We were local celebrities for a while.
Back around 1976 I was flying out of Louisville. In the airport I ran into Colonel Sanders waiting for the same flight with an aide. The most memorable thing about the encounter was how much the older ladies loved him and were positively thrilled to meet him. From what I could see, he genuinely "ate it up" and chatted/posed for photos with vitality far below his years. A really nice guy.
A friend and I were in FFA in San Antonio about 1974 and we were attending the livestock show and rodeo. We were about 13 years old. We were just walking around and we walked right up on the Colonel. He was there to buy the prize chicken. We said "Hi, Colonel" and he said "Hi boys. Why aren't you in school?" We explained we were excused as being in FFA we had show animals. He said "Did I buy your chicken?" We told him no. He said "Too bad." We just thought it was the coolest thing.
Sometime in the 1970's, while I was teaching at the University of Kentucky, I was on a flight from Atlanta to Lexington with the Colonel. I mentioned to him that I had four children, all of whom loved his chicken. Whereupon he took four of his buiness cards from his pocket, asked me my children's names, and personally autographed each: To (name) from Colonel Harland Sanders. Then he gave them to me and wished me well.
The Colonel was interested in aging well. He and John Y. Brown, Sr. founded and financially underwrote the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky, which has done significant research on Alzheimer's Disease, among others. He was a generous and concerned gentleman. It was a privilege to know him even briefly.
I remember meeting the Colonel when I was a senior in high school. I was on the Belvedere in Louisville, Ky. and he was making a personal appearance. I have never meet a man so gracious and so nice. He didn't mind taking time out to say hello to a young woman when he was surrounded by mobs of people. He was one of a kind.
In 1959, I was working in my cousin's law office in London, Kentucky, while awaiting acceptance into the Foreign Service, US State Department. Colonel Sanders, a client, needed a secretary to respond to letters requesting KFC franchises. I was recommended, and the Colonel picked me up in his black Cadillac and drove to his North Corbin restaurant/office where I typed his responses to franchise requests from Hawaii, Canada and elsewhere. He paid me $20/day, offered me a job as bookkeeper at his new residence in Shelbyville, and most significantly, gave me a packet of those famous herbs and spices. Little did I know they would later be kept under lock and key! I tell this story when playing that game "things you don't know about me," and participants are always impressed. The Colonel was a gentleman!
In the Summer of 1953, between my junior and senior years of High School, my best friend was dating a car hop that worked at the Dairy Lu Drive-In on US 29 in Five Points Indiana, a small town (really just a wide spot on the road) in the outskirts of Indianapolis. One day in the heat of the summer, while I was eating an ice cream cone and my friend was busy making plans with his girl for Saturday night, a car pulled up to the front and the driver, the only one in the car, got out wearing a white suit with a black string tie and asked to speak to the manager.
We all gathered 'round as the stranger began to talk to the boss about his fried chicken with a secret receipe. He introduced himself as Harland Sanders from Kentucky and said he was interested in finding a distributor for his chicken receipe in the area. The boss was interested in expanding his burger and hot dog business and all he had to do was display a sign that he now had Colonel Sanders' Fried Chicken. The deal was struck, plans were made for training and materials, he shared an ice cream cone with us, got in his car and left.
Unfortunately the fried chicken receipe lasted longer than the Dairy Lu Drive-In. It lasted only a year or two after that but it was selling Colonel Sanders Fried Chicken with the secret receipe until it closed.
My family made a Sunday lunch tradition of KFC when it came to Birmingham in the 1960's. KFC Original Recipe was all that was available at the time, with sides of slaw and potatoes and that wonderful gravy. Of course, all of us kids fought over the drumsticks. Mother insisted that the wings were the best part -- we took it as a measure of her love for the rest of us that she only took the smallest pieces in the bucket -- until we learned the truth that the wings ARE the best parts!
A young Don De Laria and his mother have a chat with Colonel Sanders.
When I was a 16-year-old usherette at a University of Louisville basketball game, Colonel Sanders walked past me and was seated in my area. That was 40 years ago, but he was such a larger-than-life man with his white suit, beard, hair and his black tie, that I remember that encounter clearly until this day. It was a moment of awe and wonder to actually see this icon in person because he looked so much like his image on his KFC advertisements. It was almost as if one saw the real Santa Claus in person. I am also an honorary Kentucky colonel and am a seventh-generation Kentuckian.
My memory of Colonel Sanders takes place in 1978. My daughter-in-law Joyce, granddaughters Missy, age 5, Stephanie, age 2, and myself were having lunch at the Claudia Sanders restaurant in Simpsonville, KY. Stephanie was cranky that day and Colonel Sanders happened to be in the dining room. He stopped at our table and asked about her. I told him she was just cranky. He left the dining room and came back with two bobblehead dolls of himself and said, "Maybe this will cheer up the little girl and her sister." We left after lunch and thought what a thoughtful and loving man.
In the late 50's, Colonel Sanders came to our hometown Blytheville, AR. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken prepared and served in our locale was at the Rustic Inn, which was owned by Mr. Elbert Reddick. My mother was a head cook at that time and was taught by the Colonel to prepare and cook the famous KFC. This is a memory our family has shared and treasured for years.
I grew up within about a 1/4 mile distance of Col. Sanders' restaurant. I mowed his yard when I was in grade and high school. Some of my grade school cafeteria cooks also worked in his restaurant and helped to make his fried chicken "finger lickin' good." His home was across the street from a grocery store that was owned by my aunt and uncle. I worked in that store and would often see Col. Sanders making up batches of his "11 secret herbs and spices" from barrels of supplies he would store in his garage. He would also bag the mix in two pound bags and bring it to the store for them to sell to grocery customers. The bags would be tied with a string and 35 cents would be marked as the price. Nothing else would be marked on the bag but everyone knew what it was and it usually sold very quickly. Lots of local ladies would compete for waitress jobs. My sis worked in his restaurant when she was attending college. I think she made 35 cents an hour. The tips were very good and that is what kept her going back to the job. At one point in time Col. Sanders had a white Cadillac and a white TBird at the same time. He had his face painted on the front doors of both vehicles. Everyone today knows his motto of "finger lickin' good" but did you know that his original motto that was on billboards in the Kentucky area said "Known from Canada to Cuba"?
I worked at the Sunlighting Lamp and Shade store in the Shelbyville Road Mall in Louisville in 1976 and saw the Colonel walk into the Cinderella Shoe Repair Shop just across the hall from my store. I had just moved to Louisville from a small Indiana town to go to college and had not met a celebrity before. I went across the hall and introduced myself, shook the Colonel's hand and told him how I loved his chicken. He was exceptionally gracious and talked with me for a couple of minutes wanting to know what I did in the lighting store. His suit, his goatee and his face looked just like I had seen my whole life. I was blown away.
I first met the Colonel at Standiford Field Airport in Louisville over 50 years ago. He smiled and winked at this small country girl. My thrill couldn't have been greater if he had been Elvis himself. He was dressed all in white and surrounded by his entourage, never breaking his stride. I think of that moment each time I visit our local KFC. Thanks Colonel Sanders for giving me something to remember.
I was 13 in 1974 when I met Col. Sanders. It was in Sarasota, Fla. My friend who lived two doors away had a father who ran an art studio from his home. He had a job doing a bust of Col. Sanders. I heard that the famous man was due in to town, to check on his bust. I didn't want to intrude so I waited until I saw a car drive away. I thought they left so I went over to see how the visit went. When I got there, my friend and his mom were eating KFC chicken. They offered me a piece, so I was eating chicken and listening to how the visit went when I heard people come up behind me. I turned around to see Col. Sanders himself. He looked up at me and said "Hello, sonny." I was totally flummoxed. I said "Hello, I love your chicken!" He smiled and I spent the next hour up a tree in my friend's yard, eating chicken, watching Col. Sanders inspect his bust and other pieces of art. I will never forget that, and I STILL love the chicken.
In 1973 (maybe 74) Colonel Sanders was on the board of directors for Lincoln Memorial University. Because he was coming for a meeting in the cafeteria of the student union building, all students were kicked out (we weren't dressed appropriately). Two of my friends and I were sitting across from the building on the steps when this limo (I think it was) pulled up and the Colonel himself stepped out -- with a bucket of his chicken under his arm! He asked us why we were outside and we told him. He talked to us for a few minutes -- much to our pleasure -- and offered us a piece of chicken. When we asked him why he was carrying chicken into a meeting, he laughed and said, "You know they are going to serve rubber chicken. If I'm going to eat chicken, I'd rather eat some that tasted good!"
My father(now deceased) used to have an Advertising agency (Bob Guillot Advertising) that handled the KFC account for the Washington, DC area in the late 1960's through the early 70's. So he got to know Mr. Sanders. One time when I was a Kid, Mr. Sanders came to our house and Made KFC in our kitchen! It was really cool.
My father, brother, and I had stopped near Louisville, on our way back to Lexington, Kentucky where we lived. My father insisted that we go to the "Colonel's Lady," an old fashioned family service restaurant (you know, where the bring the food each portion to your table). I was eight at the time, and I remember a kindly man, who reminded me of my grandfather at the time, who wore the same glasses. I was a bit embarrassed and maybe scared that he might come to our table. When he did, he spoke softly and smoothly -- with the elegant Kentucky drawl. He wore a suit -- not the Colonel suit, but was sharply dressed. My heart raced and I suddenly stood up and shook his hand -- large and strong, but not crushing, just firm. He smiled and we spoke a while -- him mostly asking questions about me. He handed me a signed picture from his pocket and a small chocolate. I knew I had met a great but humble man. I will never forget that moment. Oh yes, and the food was great -- fried chicken, green beans, corn on the cobb, and the best rolls I had ever tasted.
When I was about 8 years old (in 1968) I was in the backseat of our old Dodge with my parents in the front. We had just stopped at the traffic light at Shelbyville Road and St. Matthews Ave. and I noticed the Colonel sitting in a big white convertible right next to us, and I went absolutely nuts. I don't think my parents even knew what I was trying to say I was so excited and yelling. Next thing I knew the Colonel had gotten out of his car and came over to my window and shook my hand. Then he stepped forward to the front passenger side window and gave my mom some coupons for free KFC. I'll never forget how cool I thought it was that someone who was that famous and important actually took the time to come over and greet us so kindly. What's really neat is there is now a KFC located at the same spot that all this happend (right across the street from Trinity High School) so everytime I drive by that KFC I'm reminded of that day and how lucky I was to meet the man, the myth, the Colonel himself.
Colonel Sanders' office at KFC headquarters in Louisville, Ky., was located right next to the front door of the "White House." The Colonel wanted to see everyone who came and went!
I grew up right next to Louisville International Airport, which at that time was known as Standiford Field. The general aviation terminal where corporate aircraft were based was just a couple streets over from my house. Various local businesses including KFC had aircraft based or flew out of the facility.
The general aviation facility, Falls City Flying Service, was a good place to go to get snacks or a soft drink from their vending machines.
My buddy and I rode our bikes over and went inside. I was wearing a pair of blue jean shorts that had a back pocket that was loose down both of its side seams.
The pocket was basically hanging by the bottom seam, no big deal for a 12-year-old.
We were deciding what to get from the snack machine when all of the sudden I had someone tug the hanging pocket. Thinking it was probably one of my other friends messing with me I quickly turned around to say something witty to who was messing with me and was in total shock to see it was Colonel Sanders.
I bet the look on my face was priceless, as I was amazed that someone of that stature would be having some fun with a couple of out of place kids. He said something like, "you should have your mom sew that up." I replied back something to the effect of, "I sure will."
My friends and I headed back to the neighborhood with a celebrity experience. I think my mom took the easy way out and just cut the pocket off.
I lived in Corbin, Kentucky, during my early years and was a paper boy for the Courier Journal newspaper company out of Louisville, Kentucky, from 1947 through 1951. Colonel Sanders' KFC in North Corbin was on my paper route. I delivered approximately a dozen papers daily to the restaurant at an early morning hour. I initially placed one day one copy of the Courier Journal on the desk of Colonel Sanders at my own initiative. Since the Colonel never said anything to me, I continued doing this daily. Then in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951, the Colonel invited me to sit at his table in his restaurant with Corbin dignitaries, for an annual Thanksgiving dinner, with Kentucky Fried Chicken and the works. I was the only youth at the table, and I said very little, except when addressed by the Colonel as his number one paper boy. I said "Thank you." I really enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast with the Colonel at his table. I will never forget this memorable event with the Colonel. I live in the country of Germany, and traveled to Australia for vacation a few years ago, and the Colonel's chicken is in Germany as well as Sydney, Australia, and it tastes finger licking good regardless of the location
In the mid 1960's I was a young boy growing up in Aurora, IL. One Sunday morning at the Advent Christian Church on West Galena Blvd, in walked Colonel Sanders, dressed in his white suit. He sat in the pew for the service, spoke to a few people at the end of the service, and was gone, just like that.
I lived in Richmond, Ky., back in the 60s. My mother was a cook at a resturant here called the Colonel's Drive In. It had inside service and curb service. The man that owned it was Lewis Broadus. I saw Colonel Sanders there several times. I believe that was the first resturant to serve Colonel Sanders' chicken outside of his restaurant in Corbin.
My father managed an Electrolux vacuum office in Louisville in the 70's and the Colonel came in to bring a vacuum to be serviced himself. My dad and mom could not believe it. He signed autographs on little cards.
I remember Colonel Sanders coming several times to Boise, ID back in the early 70's. My dad Ted Hawkins and his brothers had opened several KFCs and the Red Steer Drive Inns. My little sister and I went to breakfast and showed the Colonel how to eat a scone. Great memories for two little girls. I do have pictures and some 8mm video. I'll have to dig them out and post them!!
During the years 1948 to 1953 our family took a driving trip every summer to visit relatives in Tennessee. The first leg of the trip from Detroit took us to Corbin, KY. where we always scheduled a night at Sanders Motor Lodge before continuing on to Tennessee the next day. It was a wonderful place. The rooms were exceptionally clean and they had the most wonderful restaurant you could imagine. I loved the deep fried chichen livers. I will always remember the friendliness of the staff. I'll also always remember Colonel Sanders' picture in the restaurant. At that time he had the white goatee and the white wide brimmed hat. He looked the same in 1952 as he does in his pictures on this website.
I remember living in Binghamton, NY in the 1970's. Every Thursday was grocery day. My mom & grandmother would go get groceries & then stop at our local KFC, or Colonel Sanders, as my grandmother would call it, for our take-out chicken. On this particular Thursday, the chicken wasn't up to my grandmother's quality. It tasted fine to me and the rest of my family. She called the restaurant and insisted on speaking with the Colonel. Of course he was elsewhere. It made me believe he was a real person and not just a fabricated icon. Thanks for all the years of great chicken!
My husband and father-in-law stopped to eat at the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Crytal River FL many years ago. and Col. Sanders was there eating his lunch, too.
I was probably six, maybe five, the first time I met the Colonel in a KFC in Greenville, MS. It was one of his many appearances and I remember it was like going to seeing Santa. For being so long ago I have a very vivid memory of the day, of him talking to me for what seemed like forever, even though it was probably only four or five minutes. I saw him again a year or so later and I'll never forget...because he remembered my first name.
Back in 1972 and 1973 I was a staff photographer for Lin Caulfield Photographers, Inc. At that time we were doing a lot of photography for KFC... Read More
Back in 1972 and 1973 I was a staff photographer for Lin Caulfield Photographers, Inc. At that time we were doing a lot of photography for KFC. I worked into the "on call" position for KFC (meaning most of the time they called for photography, I was the one to go. We got a call from the KFC office that they needed a new portrait of the Colonel. When he came for the sitting I was so nervious that I messed up the first sitting entirely and had to have him come back the next day (which was difficult becaause of his schedule) to totally reshoot the portrait and that's the one you still see today and it's also seen in downtown Louisville as a SIX STORY tall picture of the Colonel.
In 1973 I visited with the Colonel in his restaurant/home in Kentucky along with my family. He came by the table to see how dinner was and invited me to his private parlor afterwards. After dinner we went to his home and he shook my hand and asked details about my life. I shared that I was almost an Eagle Scout. At that moment, he looked into my face and winked at me with a small smile. He became my mentor at my Eagle Scout ceremony and came to see me there in Louisville, KY. If that was not enough, he flew via helicopter to come see me at a National Boy Scout camping Jamboree in Pa.
In preparing to became an Eagle Scout, I was awarded the Kentucky Colonel award by the Governor for helping save lives in a tornado in Louisville.
I watched as he signed a certificate for a free bucket of chicken for me and signed my Eagle Scout program. ( I still have both!)
Because of his small smile and wink, I remember him like it was yesterday! His helicopter trip to see me inspired me to own a helicopter service and help sick children who needed air transportation but could not afford it. Certainly, this man has inspired me. I now share the story with my 8 year daughter as I smile and wink at her as I tell the story!
I always smile when I remember the Colonel! What a sweetheart! The first franchise in Abilene was at the old, now defunct Macks's Driveteria -- THE hangout! The teens circled the block on Friday and Saturday night, to see and be seen. Small town (about 90,000) America in the late 50's early 60's. I was early grade school when Col. Sanders came to town to promote the new chicken. We went a couple of times while he was here. He would stand outside and wave on N. 1st. I'd often go out and visit with him. He was absolutely magical, especially to that 5-7 year old little girl. I still remember the box with the jingle on it. Wish I could remember the jingle. Thanks for letting us remember the Colonel!
In the late 1960's, my Grandmother Bessie Gertrude Lay was in charge of the Walton-Verona High School Band Boosters booth at the Boone County Kentucky State Fair in Burlington, KY. As President of the Band Boosters, she was seeking donations to keep our Marching Band program alive. On the opening day of the Boone County Fair, Colonel Harland Sanders walked up to my Grandmother who proudly explained that she was trying to raise money for the expensive Marching Band uniforms. He looked so handsome and stately in his white suit and black tie. All of us were as quiet as could be as we listened to my Grandmother and Colonel Sanders talk. Colonel Sanders reached into his brown leather wallet and pulled out a $100 bill and handed it to my Grandmother, who nearly fainted. I later learned that neither she nor anyone else working for the Walton-Verona HS Band Boosters had ever seen a $100 bill in their lifetime. As he graciously handed the money to my grandmother he said, "I hope that this money will go to good use." I think of Colonel Sanders and that hot humid but wonderful evening each time I stop by KFC. I've learned in recent years that Colonel Sanders gave away nearly all of his fortune to charitable organizations and to those less fortunate amongst us. He was truly a wonderful man and he made a favorable impression many years ago on me and my family.
I was working at Ray's restaurant in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1968 as a chicken cook. I got a chance to spend a couple of hours talking to Colonel Sanders and asked what made the Kentucky Fried Chicken product different than others. He said he "was taking something that was common and presenting it in a very unique way." Thinking back I can clearly see that Colonel Sanders presented a very unique product which we all enjoy today.
When I was a little girl growing up in Louisville, my family had lunch with Colonel Sanders at The Blue Boar Cafeteria. I remember how nice he was, and his really cool silver-headed cane that he had by his side. Even then I thought it was funny that the Colonel would eat somewhere besides Kentucky Fried Chicken; now I am amazed that he would eat at a simple cafeteria. It speaks to the Colonel and his down to earth nature.
Growing up I was the youngest boy of six children. We never thought we were poor, but money was always tight. My father instilled in his children a strong work ethic. When KFC would be brought home or when we would get it on a trip, we felt extra special and knew that was a day that a good memory was to be built. This work ethic that our dad taught us was also the same work ethic of the Colonel. At age 42 I felt God's call to the ministry and completed my BA degree and my Masters degree and now I'm an ordained minister serving a loving congregation in Kentucky. Thanks be to God, my Dad and the Colonel.
My family was in Louisville, but I went to grad school at Lexington, so the wife and I constantly drove along the stretch connecting the two. The colonel could be seen fairly regularly putting the "pedal to the metal" along that stretch.
I met the Colonel at the opening of the new White Horse Restaurant in London, Ontario, Canada. I believe it was the first or one of the first in Canada. It was a real thrill. He was the first celebrity I had ever met. Just couldn't take my eyes off that bright white suit. What a gentleman he was.
In 1968 my family was moving to Indianapolis, Indiana. While househunting there, my parents, my sister (age 5) and I (age 8) were eating breakfast in a downtown hotel when Colonel Sanders walked into the restaurant. My sister and I were the only children there. He came over to our table, introduced himself (as if we didn't know!) and we had a short conversation. My greatest memory of the encounter is the Colonel telling me my freckles, which he learned I hated, were worth $1,000 apiece. I was willing to sell him as many as he wanted, but never forgot his kindness and friendliness in coming over to our table. I am a high school teacher today and when my students express that they did not know Colonel Sanders was a real person, I say, "Of course he was...he was a friend of mine!"
On one memorable afternoon back in 1976 in Louisville Ky., I was in full uniform drilling as a member of a local Civil War reenactment unit... Read More
On one memorable afternoon back in 1976 in Louisville Ky., I was in full uniform drilling as a member of a local Civil War reenactment unit (Cobb's Battery & Artillery CSA) in preparation for a parade we were attending. Just then a chauffeured convertible abruptly rolled up and to all of our amazement out steps the Colonel beaming with a broad southern smile. Taking time to trade handshakes and pleasantries he left each of us with an autographed card, which I still have to this day.