Igor Finkler’s American dream came true Friday morning when the doors to his new 7-Eleven franchise store opened for business.
True to continuing form, the Kazakhstan immigrant showed grace and humility.
“Every customer is my honorable guest for whom I was waiting all my life,” he said to an assembled crowd of state and local politicians, corporate representatives, and store staff.
Finkler caught the attention of 7-Eleven, Inc. President and CEO Joe DePinto during the CBS reality show “Undercover Boss.” Finkler drove a company delivery truck while DePinto, posing as a rank-and-file employee, learned how the company works on the front lines.
Finkler impressed DePinto with his work ethic and his unflappable positive disposition. As a result, DePinto and the corporation helped Finkler open his own 7-Eleven store, waiving the typical $140,000 franchise fee.
His store officially opened for business today at its Richardson location not far from the 7-Eleven store in which Finkler worked his first job after moving to the United States.
State Rep. Angela Chen Button, whose House district includes Richardson, praised Finkler not only for his rise up the company ladder but also for pursuing and attaining U.S. citizenship.
“Just like you, many years ago, I came to this country as a legal immigrant, just like you,” she said. “We work so hard because we know not everyone is so lucky to be born in this great country, and we were lucky enough to get here as soon as possible. Isn’t that true? We have to have the right attitude to work hard and give back to the community, and the sky is the limit. We know this land is the land of great opportunities.”
Finkler deflected the praise and directed it toward his adopted county.
"This story is not about me,” Finkler said. “This story is about America. This can happen only in America.”
Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He might just have to make a special trip to Richardson. Nah.