VACAVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- You may not heard of the name CC Yin, but chances are, you've been to one of his restaurants. The Vacaville resident runs a fast-food empire with 30 McDonald's branches in Northern California, 16 in Solano County. Now, in addition to Happy Meals, he's serving up PPE.
Millions of surgical masks, goggles, gowns, face shields and hand sanitizers are a gift from Yin's non-profit to frontline workers in the Bay Area and nationwide in Vacaville, Vallejo, Fairfield, Suisun City, Sacramento and even Seattle and New York.
The 83-year old says his desire to give back stems from his gratitude for the opportunities that America has given him.
Born in China, he fled to Taiwan during World War II and immigrated to the U.S. in the 60's, with $100 in his pocket. Yin worked as an engineer until getting laid off at age 48. That's when he stumbled upon a chance to buy a failing McDonald's in Oakland.
But getting the franchise was a challenge. Yin says, "McDonald's didn't want me because I was not qualified. I was not good at speaking English. And so the court says 'McDonald's, you cannot judge the immigrant as your standard. The guy might be good for you. So give him a chance and tell me he's no good.'"
But as it turns out, he was good. A year later, Yin turned that branch profitable for the first time. And more McDonald's followed.
The entrepreneur says the key to success was and still is, working with local organizations and supporting the community. Last year, when Yin's Vallejo branch had a grand re-opening, he donated to the local Humane Society. Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan was at the ribbon cutting.
"He's provided employment for our local youth, scholarships through his foundation for college-bound seniors, and he's just been nothing but generous to our community in times of need, " Sampayan said.
The community is often invited to Yin's thriving Yin Ranch in Vacaville. It's his home, but it's also a conference center, a venue for weddings, Lunar New Year and an amusement park complete with a McDonald's racetrack.
Here, Yin often hosts events for his non-partisan APAPA organization, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs. With 30 chapters across the country, its mission is to increase Asian American civic engagement and political leadership. '
California State Treasurer says APAPA's support has been instrumental "for being leaders in our community and giving folks like me the opp to network, to be educated and to grow as leaders."
Yin may have written his own rags to riches story through the Golden Arches, but lives by his golden rule. "America taught me how to give back, how to work with community. Everybody should step up, everybody should share, good or bad."
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