The following is an excerpt from Todd C. Frankel | March 7, 2016 | Thewashingtonpost.com |
ROBERTSDALE, Ala. — There are few clues that this is the home town of Apple chief executive Tim Cook, the place where he said his “most improbable journey” began and where he forged the beliefs that today put him at the center of a national debate over privacy.
His name is not noted on the town’s welcome signs along the main drag, Route 59. There’s nothing in the local chamber’s brochures, and the local paper rarely has anything about him. His old high school keeps a glass case celebrating former NFL running back Joe Childress, Class of 1952, but not the leader of the world’s most valuable company, Class of 1978.
Walking around the town and talking with residents, it can feel as if Cook is a forgotten favorite son.
“I kinda wonder about that sometimes, I really do,” said Rick Ousley, a former classmate who recalls Cook fondly and now runs a computer repair shop in town.
Cook never sought out attention and many here are quietly proud of him, but Ousley suspects the lack of recognition is also tied to Cook’s prominent positions on sensitive social issues. Cook, who is gay, has advocated for gay rights. He once criticized Alabama for its lack of progress in a speech at the state capitol in Montgomery. He also helped fund a gay rights initiative in the Deep South.
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