Donald Trump, Jr. speaking with supporters of his father, Donald Trump, at a campaign rally at the Sun Devil Fitness Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore
“American Idea” hotel chain? Sounds great to me. I was tuned into this story while scanning Drudge Report last night. “On the campaign trail, President Trump’s children rolled through dozens of small towns across the country, reveling in the adoration of the crowds. But they were less enamored of the budget-friendly hotels along the way, an assortment of run-of-the-mill offerings that were barely distinguishable from one another,” the article explains. Which led to a business idea. Why not open up a three-star hotel chain?
The cool part of this story is “At Trump Tower on Monday evening, Mr. Danziger and Mr. Trump’s eldest sons announced that their partner in Mississippi would be an Indian-American family that through its company, Chawla Hotels, owns 17 hotels in the region,” and, the article continues 25 years earlier Suresh Chawla called Trump for a loan. Mr. Trump didn’t offer the money, but he took the call and encouraged Chawla to make it happen.
Here’s the story from Chawla’s son:
Trump inspired my father to not give up
I want to preface this letter by stating that I am not a Donald Trump supporter in the presidential election of 2016. Neither is my mother. Yet the encouragement he gave my late father over a quarter of a century ago was inspiring, and it was ironic in a sense too. I want to share our story with your readers.
It was February of 1988. My father and mother for over three years had tried to acquire bank financing to open up a small rinky dink Comfort Inn hotel in Greenwood. My dad had accumulated over 50 bank rejection letters by this point for financing of this hotel project. No one wanted to loan money to a businessman who operated a barely profitable convenience store and a money-losing fried chicken restaurant in Greenwood. My dad’s spirit was nearly broken.
I happened to come home from Millsaps College for one week and worked for my dad. … So I left school for one week and worked at my dad’s convenience store.
My second day back I was working the cash register when my mom answered the phone. She turned to my dad and me and said that someone from the office of Donald Trump wanted to talk to a V.K. Chawla. When she handed the phone to my dad, I could not believe what was going on. I asked my mom what the devil this was all about. She told me that Dad had told her a week earlier he had called Trump’s office up north to try and acquire funding for a hotel construction in Greenwood.
I could not hide my embarrassment as I heard my father talking to Donald Trump. He told Mr. Trump that he had this bold idea to build first class hotel accommodations in one of the poorest regions of the country, the Mississippi Delta. My dad admitted to him that he had been turned down by every bank all over the South that he had applied with. He went into great detail about how he had emigrated to this county in 1977 and all he was trying to do was work his way up and be a successful entrepreneur like Trump. He asked Mr. Trump if Trump would loan him $425,000 to build his first hotel.
And my mom and I will never forget what happened next. A customer at the cash register counter got loud and obnoxious with us over the price of a soda. So what did my dad do at this point? He asked Mr. Trump to hold on while he took care of the customer. Over the next excruciating minute or two, “Zillionaire” Donald Trump had to hold and listen while my Dad explained the 16 cent discrepancy to the customer. When the guy would not give in, my dad nicely acquiesced and the customer left happy. I was furious.
When my dad went back to the phone, I figured Trump would have hung the dadgum phone up. Rather than that, he gave inspiration and advice to my dad that we will never forget.
He told my dad rejection often was part of the entrepreneurial experience in America. Dad said that Trump told him, “If at first you do not succeed, then try again.” Dad said Trump told him this Greenwood hotel project was “small-fry” and Trump would not touch something like this. But he encouraged my Dad to look at alternative sources of funding rather than straight conventional bank loans.
And then Trump inspired my father to the fullest when he told him that Dad’s immigrant story was wonderful. He said to come from such poverty and make it in North America was a great example of so many hard-working Indian immigrants living the American Dream.