Not many fast-food workers break world records, inspire documentaries, and hit cult-favorite status across one of the biggest campuses in the country.
But “Junior,”—for 13 years the fast-talking, hand-waving order-taker at the Wendy’s in the Texas Union—did all that and more.
Ishmael Mohammed Jr., or Junior, had worked on the Forty Acres since Sept. 14, 1998. In 2005, he hit a high, breaking the world record for most sales at a fast food restaurant within 30 minutes. Junior made a mind-boggling 246 transactions (or $1,035.43 worth) between noon and 12:30 p.m.
In the documentary he inspired, Junior! The Wendy’s Guy, one woman says, “Amazing. When I see this man, I have to stand back and watch in awe. And he’s so artistic—his hands will flare up like he’s playing a piano.” Another adds, “I think he’s a great asset to the University and the students.” (Watch here.)
Filmmaker Stephen Stephanian said he’d gradually lost touch with Junior since making the movie and was surprised to hear that he had left. “While I don’t know the details of his departure, I know Junior’s positive attitude inspired, encouraged, and delivered hope to students despite his own personal circumstances,” Stephanian said in an email. “It goes to show that we are responsible for choosing our own attitudes, and our decision affects the lives of so many others.”
Junior served thousands of students and alumni over the years, but a few weeks ago, he moved back to his hometown in New York, Wendy’s officials say. There is no official why yet, but the Daily Texan has more details.
Photo by Trent Lesikar. Courtesy the Daily Texan.