At the time when Chris Gardner and his young son slept on hard floors of public restroom, never would he had imagined his life story would have been one for Hollywood films.
Back in the early 1980s when Mr. Garner was 27 years of age, he and his toddler son were living in the streets of San Francisco for about a year.
Although Garner was homeless he still managed to enroll into trainee scheme with a brokerage firm which did not paid him enough to make a deposit on an apartment.
So instead, Garner, being estranged from his wife, made a decision to sleep wherever he and his son were able to rest their heads at.
Apart from sleeping in a railway station, his son and he slept in parks, at a church shelters, or at times under a desk at his job after all his co-workers had gone home.
They frequented soup kitchen in order to eat, and the little cash he came across was spent on his sons nursery so that he could tend to his job.
Although things were hard, Garner was successful at his job. Selling Stocks and Shares came naturally to him, and when his training period was over, his firm, Dean Witter Reynolds, hired him.
Now that he was able to raise money to rent a home for both him and his son, his career then skyrocketed, and in a few years time, Gardner Rich, his investment firm, was open for business.
The call from Hollywood
At 62, Gardner is estimated to be worth $60m, a motivational speaker, and gives to several homeless charities and organizations that battle against women violence.
Mr. Gardner’s childhood was troublesome to say the least, and he served time in prison shortly before his internship at Dean Witter Reynolds, so it’s quite understandable why Hollywood came knocking at his door when he was writing his autobiography The Pursuit of Happyness.
In an interview with BBC, Mr. Gardner stated he ” wouldn’t change anything ” about his past.
“I made a decision as a five-year-old that my kids will know who their father was.”
“The rest of my destiny came forwad because I made the right choices.”
A mothers love
Mr. Gardner is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father left his mother before he was born.
He grew up with his mother Betty Jean and a step-dad who physically abused him.
Garner spent some time in a foster home after his mother attempted to kill her companion.
Although Gardner had it rough growing up he credits his mother for inspiring him to become the person he’s today.
He refers to his mother as being old-fashion and who reminded him daily that he was able to “do or be anything that” he put his mind to.
“And I believed it, I bought into it 100%,” he said.
While watching a college basketball game at home one day, Gardner commented to his mother that a player on TV was going to make a million dollars, to which she responded that he was going to “make a million dollars” someday.
“Until she said those words the thought had never entered my mind,” he said.
Mr. Gardner now travels the world 200 days out of the year speaking to large crowds in over 50 different countries.
To Gardner, the theory that everyone becomes the product of their environment is untrue.
“According to that school of thought I should have become another alcoholic, wife-beating, child-abusing, illiterate loser,” he states.
Mr. Gardner assures he “chose light” from those who were closest to him and “embraced it.”