Back in my college days, I read the biography of J. Willard Marriott. It was a fascinating "rags to riches" story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I clearly, CLEARLY (like it was yesterday) remember reading that J. Willard Marriott started A & W Root Beer in Washington DC by selling cold root beer in frosty mugs to hot and sweaty DC'ers in the summer. I also clearly remember reading that A & W stood for Alice (Willard's wife) and Willard.
I thought this was such a great piece of trivia that I have shared this information whenever the subject of root beer came up. Yesterday, however, my world was turned upside down when I found out that I had either misunderstood the information, or completely dreamed it up in my own imagination.
While researching famous Utahans for Ethan's state report project, I learned that A & W Root Beer was actually started by two guys from Lodi, CA named Roy Allen and Frank Wright. They eventually franchised A & W and Marriott bought franchises and opened them in several locations on the East Coast, including Washington DC.
At first I didn't believe this information, so I double checked Wikipedia AND the official Marriott Corporation website and it appears that for many years, I have been....WRONG.
So, if I ever told you that A & W stood for Alice and Willard, I am deeply sorry for misleading you. Even though it makes for an interesting story, it's just not true.
However, the Marriott Corporation did invent in-flight food service for airplanes, so that is pretty cool, even though in-flight food service is basically extinct. But still...