With hunting season underway, it wasn’t the sight of three men with rifles that made John Hite uneasy. It was their demeanor.
He watched as the trio flagged down his buddy’s truck on the dusty dirt road twenty yards ahead. He couldn’t make out the words, but the message was clear.
Arms flailing. One spat in the road. Go home. Get out of here.
John quickly put his truck in park and slid out. “Son,” he said to his six-year-old boy, “stay here.” He approached the trio. “What’s the problem?”
“This is our land. Ya’ll are hunting where you don’t belong,” said the man in blue flannel, clearly the ringleader. “Think it’s time for you and your people to get out.”
“This is my dad’s land, and I’m not going anywhere,” John shot back. He knew damned well the boundaries of the Hite land.
The family had been here for nine generations. These men were the trespassers.
The argument became heated. His buddy in the other truck hurriedly radioed the sheriff.
John’s dad, Tommy, heard the call on his CB radio. He was first to the scene.
Tommy’s truck screeched to a halt. A former college athlete, he was an imposing man, 6’2” and broad-shouldered. John knew his dad had never been afraid to make a stand for what’s right.
“What are you doing on MY land?” he challenged the men. “Intimidating my son and grandson? You want to mess with someone? Try messing with me.”
As quickly as it all had escalated, it fizzled. The strangers grumbled and left. John was, once again, in awe of his dad.
This is only one “Tommy story” John could relay. His Dad, a father of four sons, was always in his boys’ corner.
“He was quick to tell us when we were wrong. He would firmly straighten us out. But we knew he would always be there for us. He was 100% in our corner, no matter what.
It’s like having the biggest kid in the playground on your side, always. Gives you confidence,” says John.
John believes every young person needs someone strong behind them in life. We agree. Story after story, we see how the confidence inspired by our parents endures for life.
What a difference it made for John! At just 20 years old, a mere sophomore in college, John showed the confidence his dad had inspired. He had the guts to “go for it.”
On a shoestring budget, with a very small loan co-signed by Dad, John and a childhood friend founded a company. It was a hair-brained idea to most. But as you could guess, Dad encouraged, helped and advised from day one.
The company—then College Comfort—rented cushioned stadium seats to college sports fans. It started at Virginia Tech, John’s alma mater, and today serves over 130 colleges.
John and his partner eventually sold College Comfort to ISP Sports. It was then acquired by IMG World (founded in 1960 by golf legend Arnold Palmer and Mark McCormack). John stayed on and works there to this day as V.P.
Despite his financial success, John lives within three miles of his parents. So do his brothers.
Today, with four children of his own, John intends to stay close in Dad’s corner, “and be there for him like he was for me.” Confidence in kids endures for life.