On Bauer Business Focus – A conversation on chasing the American dream with Ed Mayberry, business reporter for KUHF 88.7 FM.
Like many teenagers in America, Atour Eyvazian’s first job was in fast food. At 18 he worked as a janitor at a Jack in the Box in Sacramento earning minimum wage, and today, 25 years later, he still works in the fast food franchise as the owner and operator of 49 Jack in the Box restaurants in Texas and California.
His transformation from worker to owner is familiar theme in American industry. But the real success story lies in what Eyvazian had to overcome to get there in the first place.
Eyvazian grew up in the war-torn country of Iran during the seventies and eighties. As Christians amid a revolution, his family was persecuted – his father denied work, and he and his two sisters shunned from schools.
“After the revolution, my family lost everything. In 1984, our country was in war, and my parents told me the only chance I had of surviving was to leave,” said Eyvazian.
He fled Iran through the rugged mountains in the north, only to be captured and imprisoned at the Turkish border. His captors kept him more than 40 days, releasing him only after he bribed them with money his mother had sewn into his jeans in case of an emergency.
He sought refuge in the American embassy in Istanbul, where he lobbied for safe transport for him and his family to the United States. Upon arriving in California six months later, his American relatives suggested he work at a Jack in the Box. He knew no English and had to rely on acquaintances to translate for him during the interview.
“I said, ‘I’ll do anything Just give me a chance,’” remembers Eyvazian.
Not only did they give him a job, they helped Eyvazian transition to his new American lifestyle and supported him with tuition assistance as he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
“This is an untold story. People don’t know how much potential there is in a company like Jack in the Box. If they see a talent, they will go out of the way. This is my first job since I got here and 25 years later, I’m still with my first job. I just love the company; they’ve been good to me.”
Click here for the full interview.