Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on February 11th, 2014

Bill Porter: The power of the human spirit.

Bill Porter, who passed away last year at 81, overcame limitations so severe that the state of Oregon, where he lived, told him he was unemployable and should go on disability.

Bill had cerebral palsy, which forced him to lean awkwardly forward, causing him severe back pain and making it hard for him to walk. He also had no use of his twisted right hand, and a speech impediment which caused many people to respond to him as being retarded.

But Bill was a strong, independent man who refused to go on disability, even when no-one would hire him.

After being repeatedly rejected for work, Bill got a commission job with the Watkins household products company selling door to door, by agreeing to take their worst Portland territory, the one no-one else wanted.

Despite being ridiculed for his speech and physical limitations and having doors slammed in his face, Bill persisted, as he struggled up and down hills and stairs, often walking seven miles a day.

Bill Porter
Bill Porter

He persisted through rain, snow and icy conditions and every other problem he faced. Eventually he became one of Watkins's top salespeople.

Bill used his commissions to maintain a nice home for himself and his aging mother, until she passed away, leaving him alone in the world.

But it turned out he was not alone, for in many cases, Bill's customers had become his friends.

He also had Shelly Brady. Because Bill was unable to drive, he relied on busses to take him to his sales territory to call on his customers and prospective customers.

But he was doing so much business, that when Shelly was in high school, he hired her to deliver the products to his customers.

Shelly remained with Bill for the rest of his life, even after she married and became the mother of five children. To the Brady family, Bill became like a grandfather.

Today, we often order products online, and door to door sales are largely a thing of the past. But for more than 50 years, Bill gave his customers personal service.

The first 35 of those years, the service was face to face. But after being hit by a car, Bill used the telephone to keep in touch with them.

Bill became a legendary salesperson, and a great example to each of us of what the human spirit can attain.

For people never really needed what Bill sold. What they needed was Bill Porter.

Success Tip of the Week: Please see this 15 minute segment of a 20/20 television show made in 1997 showing Bill Porter in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8LnvfpeQDA It will bring tears to your eyes as it brought tears to mine.

Editor's Note: In 2002, there was an award winning television movie about Bill, "Door to Door" starring William H. Macy as Bill and Kyra Sedgwick as Shelly. To see a 2 minute clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbeeW2M-nCM

In the next KazanToday: A 19th century black woman who risked her freedom to educate slaves.

Home       Archives
Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!
All Contents 2014 http://www.KazanToday.com