What We Can Learn from Texas Roadhouse CEO’s Tragedy
Last week, while suffering extreme complications after a battle with COVID-19, Kent Taylor, CEO and founder of Texas Roadhouse, took his own life at the age of 65. His body was found on Thursday in a field on property his property just outside of Louisville, KY.
According to the Courier-Journal, his family put out this statement concerning his passing.
After a battle with post-Covid related symptoms, including severe tinnitus, Kent Taylor took his own life this week," the family said in a company-issued statement Friday. "Kent battled and fought hard like the former track champion that he was, but the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable.
But in true Kent fashion, he always found a silver lining to help others. Most recently, he committed to fund a clinical study to help members of the military who also suffer with tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the ear that can be very loud, yet unheard by others. Many people said they had seen or talked to Taylor recently and that he had appeared in good spirits. But inside, he was obviously suffering.
Kent Taylor founder Texas Roadhouse back in 1993. And, during the pandemic, gave up his salary and incentive bonuses from March 2020 until January 2021, to help the staff at his restaurants working. He was known as a very kind and generous man and the pandemic solidified his kind reputation.
Although I did not know him personally, I have many friends who knew him well and dedicated their lives to working for the Texas Roadhouse company. My friends started on the ground floor and have the same values and work ethic as their former CEO. My thoughts and prayers go out to Kent Taylors family, friends, and co-workers. He will be greatly missed.
Sadly, the internal pain and torment of his COVID-19 complications were just too hard for him to bear. On the surface, it seems like he had a perfect life, and to many around him, it looked like he did. But, things are not always what they seem. The mind in fight or flight mode can be a very dangerous thing.
During the course of my own life, I have been in so much torture related to my anxiety, that I contemplated taking my own life. Twice, I was so close, my death was moments away. I felt like it was my only escape from the never-ending torment. The pain you feel when you feel you can't escape is unbearable. Each time, I was unknowingly saved by something I loved. But, most importantly, after each close call, I got help. Help that I desperately needed and help that put me in a better place while giving me the tools I need to cope with my illness.
It's sometimes very difficult to ask for help. You are afraid of the stigma around suicide. You fear everyone will think you have lost your mind. For my generation and the generations before mine, it was considered weak to even talk about how you felt. There was very little therapy or help of any kind. During those times, many people died by their own hands, including my great grandfather because there was nowhere to turn to get the help you needed.
But, now there is help. If you are feeling suicidal, please ask for help. It doesn't make you weak or make others think less of you. Whether you are a CEO of a billion-dollar company or a stay-at-home parent, you CAN ask for help.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please don't hesitate to call The Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Someone, a real voice, will be on the other end to talk to you 24/7. You can also find valuable resources to help, HERE.