With a dream, a big move, and the help of a stranger, Ricardeau Scutt went from an unemployed Haitian immigrant in Philadelphia to a business owner and reality star.
Ten years ago, Scutt immigrated to the US knowing very little English, but hoping to make a better life for himself in a place where he would be able to find work. He searched three months for a job, but unfortunately, no one would hire him.
Then one day, his father, who was a taxi driver in the city, told one of his passengers about his son's struggles, and the passenger requested Scutt meet him on a street corner later that day. The man brought Scutt into a Saladworks eatery, introduced him to the owner, got him a job as a dishwasher, and walked off without giving his contact information.
A decade later, Scutt has turned that small favor into his own enterprise, working his way up to manager status, getting a spot on a Food Network show, and finally opening his own Saladworks location in November. He's officially made it.
"It's a great feeling to know that it's mine," Scutt, 34, tells the Good News Blog. "It was my goal to turn this chance into a business when I got into the business. That was the dream, now it's the reality. I got my city license today, so it's a major date."
Soon after arriving in the States, Scutt, who is married and a father of five, enrolled in school to learn English, which he says has been his biggest challenge. He worked full-time while taking classes at night and driving a cab part-time, and obtained his US citizenship in 2005.
After three years working for Saladworks and improving his grammar, Scutt became the general manager of his store. He was so impressive - one of the top managers in the country - that his boss would later selected him to participate on Food Network's hidden-camera reality show, "Giving You the Business," in which the winner would be given his own Saladworks store. Scutt's task on the show was to manage a chain for a day, and he ended up winning the contest. Thus, he currently finds himself running his own shop.
"That was priceless," Scutt remembers. "It was crazy. It was like, this is the Food Network, I watch the Food Network all the time! My family and my friends were going crazy that night they premiered the show. I lost it. I was screaming… ten years ago, I couldn't speak English."
The American dream has moved beyond Scutt's expectations. He says the secret to his success is threefold: customer service, good food, and "knowing what you're doing." At this point, his goals are only to expand. He intends to work hard with his new store so that it will pay for a second one.
Scutt says if he could talk to that stranger from a decade ago, he would express much gratitude.
"I would love to meet him and say thank you. He changed my life and my family's life forever. He gave me an opportunity to do good for myself and my family, and I appreciate that very much."