The Bob Hicks Story - Tongue Tied and Dyslexic by (10 October 2004)
The incredible life of Robert Hicks began in 1941 during a bombing raid in Birmingham, England, as Adolf Hitler tried to reduce the country's main industrial city to rubble. But it wasn't Hitler, but Robert's parents who he says reduced his life to rubble.
"I was a street urchin who ran wild, unable to speak, write or read... I was ignored by my mother, who eventually deserted the family and was severely ill-treated by my father." He went on to say, "When I left school the headmaster told me that I was 'a waste'. I got a job as an errand boy for a family grocery business and was seen by many as a shy withdrawn idiot. While working in the grocery shop, an ex-nurse discovered the cause of my speech problem. Within weeks a simple, operation took place. After the operation, the surgeon encouraged me to take elocution lessons and also to write out a book by hand, reading the words aloud. Franctically, I searched the house for a book. Eventually, I found an old Bible next to the dreaded army belt of my father. I was determined to learn to read, write and speak that I began to copy out the Bible and within a few months I improved noticeably. It took me two years to complete the task and through that, I not only learned to read and write, but I also found Jesus as my personal saviour."
Robert's story is both harrowing and uplifting when you consider the terrible depths from which he came and the heights to which he climbed in his adult life. This included an incredible rise in retailing and he concluded as the Marketing Director of 110 retail shops as well as opening the first hypermarket in the UK. Many years later visiting a supermarket in the Wirral he told British TV personality Ester Rantzen that this was the very site of the hypermarket that he had opened 30 years ago.
Robert spoke of his great love for books. He said that although he had learned to read from the Bible, he didn't just stop with the Bible, adding "But the Bible is still the most important book for me."