Success did not come easily for Harland Sanders. By the time he was ready for retirement, he tried his hand as an Army mule-tender, railroad worker (from which he got fired for fighting with a co-worker), gas station operator, lawyer (a career that ended, by the way, when he got into a courtroom brawl with his own client), life insurance salesman (from which he was fired for insubordination), ferry-boat operator, acetylene lamp manufacturer, tire salesman, motel owner, amateur obstetrician, failed candidate for the Kentucky State Senate, and assistant cafeteria manager. He even briefly contemplated a life of crime when he came within moments of kidnapping his children from his estranged wife.
Through all of this he never gave up. “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could,” said Sanders, “and no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me.”
At the age of 65, left with a meager savings and $105/month in Social Security income, Sanders was running out of time in his goal of amounting to something. That’s when he decided to try to cash in on a recipe he had been perfecting for years. It was a way of making fried chicken with eleven herbs and spices. He called it “Kentucky Fried Chicken.”
In no time at all, this senior citizen who made a career out of failing was one of the most recognizable men in the United States. Kentucky Fried Chicken became an instant success, and Sanders, known as Colonel Sanders because of an honorary commission in the Kentucky National Guard, had finally amounted to something.
Interestingly enough, the Colonel’s temper that got him fired from more than one job in his youth did not entirely depart in his sunset years. One day he and his wife stopped at a restaurant for breakfast, and upon finding his eggs undercooked, sent them back to the kitchen. When the waitress brought them back a few minutes later, Sanders could tell the eggs had merely been flipped over. Outraged, the Colonel stormed in the kitchen, confronted the cook, and before long the two of them flew out of the kitchen in an outright brawl, much to the alarm of the customers.