Why Dave Thomas quietly went back to school after his Wendy’s success
When you hear “Dave Thomas,” it’s hard not to think Wendy’s.
The soft-spoken, white-haired businessman who died in 2002 at the age of 69 famously turned an Ohio hamburger joint into one of America’s most successful fast food chains.
This, I’m guessing, you probably already knew.
What you may not have known is that Thomas wasn’t just about burgers and fries he was a proud advocate of getting an education, too. I wasn’t aware of this until I spotted a thread posted to Reddit on Sept. 3, 2015, that was getting quite a lot of attention.
Despite having never graduated, Thomas remained a staunch proponent of staying in school.
He dropped out when he was just 15 years old. And the decision haunted him.
“Dave was worried that his business success might discourage young people from finishing school,” Frank Vamos, director of brand communications for Wendy’s, told Upworthy. “One of Dave’s biggest regrets was dropping out, saying it was one of the worst mistakes he’d made in his life.”
Thomas encouraged kids to make education a priority. So when a high schooler questioned how Thomas could do that while he had dropped out, it inspired him to go back and hit the books. He was 61 years old.
In 1993, Thomas obtained his GED from Coconut Creek High School outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Yes, this was long after Wendy’s had already made him an uber-successful business leader, so he certainly didn’t need the resume booster.