Stephen Stephanian

Former Wendy’s employee Ishmael Mohammed Jr., known as “Junior,” left the restaurant in the Union after 14 years. Junior broke the world record for most sales in a fast food restaurant in under thirty minutes and was the subject of a documentary aired during South By Southwest and directed by a UT alumnus.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

After more than 13 years at the Texas Union, Junior, “The Wendy’s Guy,” has gone home.

In January he transferred to the Wendy’s at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Guadalupe Street, and a few weeks ago he was no longer part of the company and had moved back to his hometown in New York state, said Dannie Badillo, manager at the MLK Wendy’s.

Badillo said he does not know why Junior has left, but that Junior came in for his last paycheck and only said that he would not be continuing to work in Austin.

Known for his excited performances and speed while calling up orders for customers at the Union’s Wendy’s, Ishmael Mohammed Jr., or Junior, worked at the Union from 1998 until last month. In 2005, Junior broke the world record for most sales at a fast food restaurant in 30 minutes, making 246 sales — $1,035.43 — for Wendy’s in the 30 minute time span between 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Junior had by then developed a cult status among UT students as an icon of the Texas Union. Junior inspired UT alumnus Stephen Stephanian to make “The Wendy’s Guy,” a 12-minute video on his record-breaking sales day that went on to premiere at South By Southwest and other film festivals.

“[Junior] and the Union were synonymous,” said radio-television-film senior Athan Bernal. “He was super outgoing and always enthusiastic. He was quick and he could cut down a line of 15 people in a minute. He was good at what he did.”

UT students will miss the iconic salesperson, said biology senior Liana Renteria.

“I’ve been wondering where he’s been,” Renteria said. “He was smiley and super sweet, and you could hear him shouting out orders from anywhere in the Union. Now that’s
not there.”

Junior, “The Wendy’s Guy”, takes an order from a customer at Wendy’s in the Texas Union Wednesday afternoon. Junior celebrated his 13th anniversary of working at the Union Wendy’s and the 6th year anniversary of breaking a world record for the fast food chain.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

Junior, “The Wendy’s Guy,” celebrated both his 13th anniversary working at the Wendy’s in the Texas Union and his six-year anniversary of breaking a fast food world record at the place he loves most — behind the register.

Six years ago, a man known as only as Junior to friends, co-workers and supervisors made 246 sales, earning $1,035.43 for Wendy’s in the 30-minute time span between 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. — a world record for the fast food chain. The event can be seen on in a 12-minute documentary by UT alumnus Stephen Stephanian.

“I went after a record, and I broke it,” Junior said. “The dream came true.”

The film was shown at The Union Theater in 2006, and at South By Southwest before traveling to Denver, Colo., Palm Beach, Fla., and even reaching Hollywood, Junior said.

“My movie helped open the door for the film students who made it,” Junior said. “They’re working for TV stations now, and their bosses told them they were hired because they saw my movie. I’m so glad to have helped them.”

Along with helping the students who made the documentary, Junior said he inspires others to reach for their goals and never give up. “The Wendy’s Guy” said he can tell many stories of UT students he has become close to while working in the Texas Union.

“A journalism professor assigned his students to write a story on someone famous, and a girl said she wanted to write about me,” Junior said. “Well, the professor didn’t know who I was so asked the class to raise their hands if they knew me, and this was a class with about 200 students, and every single one of them raised their hands.”

Junior became a legend within three months of working at the University, but he did not feel he had earned the title until the world record was broken. He said he came to UT to make a name for himself just as students come to UT to make names for themselves, and if he can do it, they can do it.

“The day I broke my record, I threw my hands in the air and said ‘Yes, I earned it,’” Junior said. “And when students graduate from UT, they should go down those steps and look back at the University and throw their hands in the air and say ‘Yes, we earned it.’”

UT students appreciate his enthusiasm and support.

“He is so energetic,” electrical engineering junior Jessica Nguyen said. “He made my day a little brighter because he was so happy.”

Junior will attempt to break his record and make $1,200 in half an hour on Dec. 1, according to his Facebook page.

“He’s really efficient and loves his job,” biomedical engineering senior Kurt Fraivillig said. “He does a great job.”

Printed on September 15, 2011 as: 'Wendy's Guy' inspires students with record