Chad Rattray wasn’t just Cheddar Chad or the dog guy. Mainly, he was Chad.
Nearly everyone who bought a hot dog from Rattray out front of the Bank of America building in downtown Spokane was on a first-name basis him.
Rattray died suddenly Monday of complications related to the flu. He was 37 years old and had finished his training to be a Spokane Transit Authority bus driver within the last week. He drove only one day, on Sunday.
“He was one of those people who stood out in a world full of knuckleheads,” said Tim Burk, chief engineer for the bank building. “There was nothing I didn’t like about the guy. I think you could ask 10,000 people and not one of them would speak badly about him.”
Paul Hoffman, a training instructor with STA, had been buying hot dogs from Rattray for as long as he can remember. Hoffman ended up recruiting Rattray to work for STA.
“You wouldn’t think a hot dog guy would have such an impact … but you can feel it. It’s palpable,” Hoffman said. “He was just a stellar student. An exemplary student. An awesome driver. He was on that course to be a legend among drivers. A firm grip.”
This season, six people have died with flu-related illnesses - including three since Jan. 13. Rattray was generally healthy and had a flu shot this year.