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Colonel Sanders and the Gas Station Gunfight

Before Colonel Sanders became the iconic American figure famous for his Kentucky Fried Chicken, he was a young man named Harland Sanders, and he was certainly a man who took shit from nobody. Harland Sanders got his start as a businessman when he became the owner of a Shell gas station in Corbin, Kentucky in 1930. Sanders’ gas station also included a small diner where he served country ham, biscuits, and steaks. Down the street from Sanders’ station was his business rival, Matt Stewart, who operated his own Standard Oil gas station and competed with Sanders for customers. The two men quickly went from business rivals to mortal enemies, and it was only a matter of time before there would be blood.

The two men came to blows when Sanders painted a large sign advertising his business on billboard near a local railroad. Stewart responded by painting over Sanders’ sign. In response Sanders confronted Stewart, angrily threatening to “shoot his goddamn head off”. Sanders repainted the sign, but became enraged when Stewart once again painted over it. 

Determined to end the situation once and for all, Sanders decided to confront Stewart with a grand show of force that would cow him into submission. Sanders and two heavily armed Shell officials named Robert Gibson and H. D. Shelburne set off in a car to Stewarts gas station.  They expect the sight of three men with loaded weapons would be enough to intimidate Stewart. However Stewart opened fire on the men with a revolver as soon as they arrived, killing Robert Gibson. A gun battle ensued, but in the end the two men got the drop on Stewart, with Shelburne shooting him in the hip and Sanders shooting him in the shoulder.  Stewart surrendered, and despite his wounds survived the gunfight.  However he was charged and convicted for the murder of Robert Gibson, resulting in an 18 year prison sentence. Neither Sanders nor Shelburne were charged with a crime.

Harland Sanders continued to run hi gas station and diner. In 1935 Sanders discovered a way to fry chicken using pressure cookers, a method which allowed him to cook the chicken fast enough to serve to his customers. The rest is Kentucky Fried history.

KFC History:

At age 5 his Father died.
At age 16 he quit school.
At age 17 he had already lost four jobs.
At age 18 he got married.
Between ages 18 and 22, he was a railroad conductor and failed.
He joined the army and washed out there.
He applied for law school he was rejected.
He became an insurance sales man and failed again.
At age 19 he became a father.
At age 20 his wife left him and took their baby daughter.
He became a cook and dishwasher in a small cafe.
He failed in an attempt to kidnap his own daughter, and eventually he convinced his wife to return home.
At age 65 he retired.
On the 1st day of retirement he received a cheque from the Government for $105.
He felt that the Government was saying that he couldn’t provide for himself.
He decided to commit suicide, it wasn’t worth living anymore; he had failed so much.
He sat under a tree writing his will, but instead, he wrote what he would have accomplished with his life. He realised there was much more that he hadn’t done. There was one thing he could do better than anyone he knew. And that was how to cook.
So he borrowed $87 against his cheque and bought and fried up some chicken using his recipe, and went door to door to sell them to his neighbours in Kentucky.
Remember at age 65 he was ready to commit suicide.
But at age 88 Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Empire was a billionaire.
Moral of the story: Attitude. It’s never too late to start all over.
MOST IMPORTANLY, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE. NEVER GIVE UP NO MATTER HOW HARD IT GETS.
You have what it takes to be successful. Go for it and make a difference. No guts no glory. It’s never too old to dream.

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In Japan, Kentucky Fried Chicken isn’t just popular, it’s an institution. It’s even a holiday tradition. Eating KFC on Christmas has been widely practiced since the mid-1970s. With 1200 locations across the country, Japan is KFC’s third-largest market after China and the US.

Standing outside near the entrance of each one of those outlets, welcoming customers with open arms and a smile, is a life-size statue of Colonel Sanders. And, thanks to Kotaku, we just learned that those statues of The Colonel are dressed in all sorts of different costumes all the time - for specific holidays, for seasonal celebrations, media promotions, and sometimes just for the fun of it.

The photos you see here represent a very small sampling of the costumed Colonel Sanders statues that have been spotted around Japan. Head over to Kotaku to view many more.