Dave with teenager in TV commercial
Dave’s Passion for Education and Time in the Limelight

As interest in Dave grew, he was often asked to talk to students, businesses or the media about free enterprise, success and community service. When Dave was asked to speak about his accomplishments to students, he advised kids to "Get all the education you can." Some students challenged Dave because he had dropped out of high school. So, 45 years after leaving school, Dave went back and received his GED from Coconut Creek High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

 

In his autobiography, Dave’s Way, Dave shared his experiences and insight into achieving his dreams. As he put it, "It also tells people about my mistakes and what they should avoid. It's important to learn from your mistakes and I hope people can learn from mine." Dave also published a book on success called Well Done!, and the business book Franchising for Dummies. Proceeds from all books went to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Dave graduates with his GED
Well Done by Dave Thomas

Dave received numerous awards and accolades for his business success and his altruism, but it was his role on Wendy’s TV commercials that cemented him firmly in the minds of consumers as an American folk hero. For 13 years, Dave’s honest, “just be nice” attitude and down-to-earth personality won over the hearts – and stomachs – of television viewers. After starring in more than 800 commercials, the long-running Dave Thomas Campaign made him one of the nation’s most recognizable spokesmen.

Dave in a TV Commercial
Dave in a TV commercial