(This week The Columbian-Progress spotlights Acceptance Now manager Jimmy Miller. Acceptance Now operates within Furniture Direct)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born in Tylertown July 19, 1968.
Q: Where did you attend school?
A: I attended West Marion High School and graduated from USM in 1992.
Q: Where do you work? Tell us about your job/company.
A: I am the manager of Acceptance Now within Furniture Direct. Our goal is to help people that come in to look at furniture and try to go through traditional financing and can’t. They get sent over to us, and our company is designed to help people rebuild or build their credit. And it gives them the furniture they want at that time. We don’t want anyone walking out of here feeling defeated. Our company had a vision 10 or 11 years ago to help people get the products they wanted without being embarrassed by not being able to go through traditional finance.
Q: What led you to your profession?
A: I moved back home about 17 years ago, and I started out with Rent-A-Center, which is the parent company. I was looking to get back into managing, and they had a position available and started training me. I spent 10 years in the Army, and I was good with managing people and dealing with issues quickly so I just fell into the position and have been doing it ever since.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: You get to meet a lot of unique people with diverse backgrounds. I’m a talker so when you get over here, I’m going to talk to you and get to know you. That’s my favorite part.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
A: The most challenging aspect is getting people to understand what their payments are and how to avoid long-term delinquency or late fees. It’s a challenge sometimes because people come to the store and work with a salesperson for an hour or two and get disappointed they can’t go with traditional finance. Then when they come over to us, they just want to sign and leave without listening. It’s a challenge to get them to understand when they’re not in the mood to listen.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
A: That we’re all human and we’re all going to make mistakes. In our job if you don’t have some form of compassion, it’s easy to see the world as what it is and that’s evil. People will come in here and try to deceive you because they don’t care about their credit. They’ll get a couple grand worth of furniture, sign on the dotted line and disappear. You have to have compassion that not everyone is that way because your perception of people can get skewed.
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be a fighter pilot. I was on my way to doing it ‘til I had the physical and found out I have a rare eye disease.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I had my own lawn mowing service. I did that for over six years. I had more than 20 yards and a graveyard that I mowed every summer. My parents never had to buy me anything from the time I was 12 until I graduated high school because I had money every summer and saved it. It gave my mom and dad money to put on my other two brothers.
Q: Who is the person who has been most influential in your life?
A: I had a couple teachers at West Marion that were influential, but most of all it was my dad, Jimmy L. Miller. He grew up in the country, and his parents pulled him out of school around his eighth grade year because they worked for a sharecropper and he picked cotton. By the time he hit his 20s, he was a supervisor for an oil field company and had 10 men under him. He never missed a beat when he was hurt or sick. I’ve had the same philosophy. Unless I’ve been injured to where I couldn’t work, sick or not, I was going to work.
Q: What is your spouse’s name?
A: Amanda. She is the Department of Transportation compliance manager for Griner’s.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I have three children: Tyler, Hayley and Hayden.
Q: If you could have anything for your last meal on earth, what would it be?
A: It would either have to be a supreme pizza or lasagna. Anything cheesy is my favorite.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’ve always wanted to backpack through Europe and do the castle tour.
Q: What hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?
A: When we get the spare time, we like to go fishing and hunting. I love to game with my boys. I play whatever video game they’re playing with them, and we love to play supports. Basketball is really competitive at my house because my wife played high school basketball, I played high school basketball and my son, who is 6-foot-5, played basketball so we try to see who is best. Usually it’s my wife.
Q: What do you enjoy about Columbia and Marion County?
A: It’s basically what drew me back here, the small-town appeal. Everybody knows everybody. It’s got that vibe to me — I lived in several big cities — you run into people that know you and say hi.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone from your life or history, who would it be and why?
A: Of course I would say Jesus because I have many questions.
Q: What moment in your life has had the biggest impact on who you are today?
A: The day that I signed for the military. I went from a young man that didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life to having a goal. It changed everything physically, mentally and emotionally about me. The stuff that I did when I was in the military was a challenge in every way, and it just made me a stronger person.
Q: What is one thing you want to do that you’ve never tried?
A: I want to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef and do a great white dive where they bring the great whites to the cages.
Q: Using one word for each, what are your top three morals?
A: Integrity, compassion and respect.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: I would like to be remembered as someone who lived based off of those three things. That I was respectful, that I was compassionate to stop and help anybody that I saw that was in need regardless if it’s a complete stranger. We’ve been given so much, and people don’t realized if you’ve never been in another country like a Third World country that we have so much that it’s taken for granted. I hope the people I have helped realize that I didn’t help them for any type of glory but just for the purpose of helping them.
— Joshua Campbell