If you get first character from string using php then you can use some option.

This is simple code which help you.

<?php

//Example string.
$text = "This is demo text for test";

// Option 1 get first character
$option1 = $text[0];

//Option 2 first character
$option2 = substr($text, 0, 1);

// sometime special character not work so use this for first character

$option3 = mb_substr($text, 0, 1);

echo "Result: ". $option1."==".$option2."==".$option3;

then result all is same :

Result: T==T==T

If you face any problem then please inform me, i will try to help you