+

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.


GIF via Wendy's/YouTube.

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.

Photo courtesy of The Wendy's Company.

Probably the most adorable part about this story ... not only was Thomas named "Most Likely to Succeed" by Coconut Creek's senior class (which he said "adopted" him as their own), they also voted him and his wife, Lorraine, the school's prom king and queen that year.

“After 45 years, I went back to school, studied for and got my GED," Thomas said of his accomplishment. "It wasn't easy, but it was worth it, and it's something I'm very proud of."

That pride inspired him to leave a lasting legacy that values education. After obtaining his GED, Thomas created the Wendy's High School Heisman program in 1994 to encourage students to get the most out of their high school experience. The program gives away thousands of scholarships to high school seniors every year.

Thomas' decision to go back to school was a good one, being a role model and all, because high school dropouts make way less money than graduates.

Don't take my word for it — let the numbers do the talking.

Photo via iStock.

It's also good to note that, despite valid arguments questioning the value of a college degree amid skyrocketing tuition costs these days, those who complete college still earn significantly more on average than those who don't. (Although it is fair to say college may not be for everyone, and that's OK.)

While I'm on the subject of making money, this is one area where Wendy's commitment to the value of education and getting paid well for your work doesn't quite hold up. The average crew member at Wendy's makes only $8.11 an hour — according to survey estimates from Glassdoor — even though many of them have high school (and even college) degrees.

But at least we can listen to one lesson from Dave that certainly holds true: It's never too late to go back to school.

If reaching academic success made self-made millionaire (and, let's just say it, everyone's honorary grandpa) Dave Thomas proud, I think we all should keep the value of an education in mind.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less