In 1995 Keith Guyton was sitting in a Texas jail cell for selling drugs. He owed $50,000 to his dealer, had fathered four kids and had been living a life of crime for 21 years. He was just 32.
Now, 22 years later, Guyton is about to celebrate his 54th birthday. He's married, owns his own home and is the owner of a successful auto-repair franchise set to hit $2 million in revenue this year.
What's more, he's hailed as hardworking, personable, smart — and so trustworthy, he was given the franchise on a "good ol' boy handshake" by the founder and CEO of Christian Brothers Automotive himself, Mark Carr.
Why would Carr, who runs a thriving 35-year-old company that has 150 locations across 22 states, just hand Guyton one of the company's top 20 revenue-producing stores in the U.S.?
Perhaps their decision stems from Christan Brothers' guiding principle: Love your neighbor as yourself.
"The company mission has always been real simple — loving people around you, treating them fair, being honest. That's at the core of who we are," says Mark Carr's son Jonathan, vice president of marketing at the company's home office in Georgetown, Texas.
Yet it wouldn't be completely honest to say that the Carrs would just hand anyone a business simply based on their guiding principles. There was something about Guyton that made the Carrs look beyond his wild past.