I don’t have a picture of him. I wish I did, for he was the poster child for industry, determination, and entrepreneurialism. To us, he was simply, “the Donut Man.”
A daily fixture each morning at the intersection of North Avenue and Techwood Drive, just on the edge of the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, he sold Krispy Kreme donuts for a dime. We students could, of course, buy one for a nickel at Krispy Kreme’s bakery a half-mile away, but we paid the Donut Man a dime for a sweet burst of breakfast as we trudged up “the Hill” from our dorms to our eight o’clock classes. After all, convenience comes at a price!
I first encountered this individual as a freshman at Tech in 1969. During the summer of 1970, he was selling ice-cold cokes, and on fall football Saturday’s, he offered a bag of roasted peanuts for a dollar. He sold whatever he thought we students would buy, and whatever it was that he could carry.
By my junior year, however, he appeared parked at the curb in an old dilapidated station wagon. He used the tailgate to serve a variety of foods including hot dogs and snow cones. In the span of just three years, this enterprising person had launched a business selling donuts – and graduated to a food truck! Amazing!
This story of success exemplifies the spirit of America and illustrates that we do indeed live in the “land of opportunity!” With little obvious education, the Donut Man identified a market, sold a product for a profit, and built a small enterprise that became part of Tech lore.
As our nation celebrates its two-hundred and forty-third birthday this July 4th, let’s remember how privileged we are to live in this “home of the brave, and land of the free.” May our nation remain strong and independent and continue to be the shining light of the world, where all dreams can come true.
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“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.“