Chris Gardner’s Amazing Success Story – From Homeless to a Millionaire


Chris Gardner was an ordinary guy, working as a salesman for medical supplies. Some years ago he was like most people in the world, struggling to earn enough for a living and take care of his kid and girlfriend. One day he saw a very well-dressed man in a nice red Ferrari, trying to find a parking place in a crowded parking. Chris offered the guy his parking spot, in exchange for the answers to two simple questions – “What do you do for a living, and how?”. The Ferrari guy delightfully said that he was just a stockbroker, trading stocks for his clients. He was earning around 70 thousand dollars per month, a lot more than Gardner’s annual income.

Without wasting more time, Chris started looking for a brokerage company that would like to hire a man like him. As you probably guess, it was not an easy task for a guy who didn’t even have an idea of what a stock is. But he had a clear goal and he was persistent. And one-day happiness smiled at him, Gardner managed to arrange the desired job and before even starting it, he quit his career as a medical supplies salesman. But there was a little surprise when he appeared in the office for the first time, he found out that the man who hired him was fired on that day. Bad luck, Gardner was left empty-handed and unemployed. But that was not all. A few days later, the police came to his home after a fight between him and his girlfriend. After checking his identity, the men of law established that Chris had unpaid parking tickets for more than a thousand dollars. They asked him to pay. But he had no job and no money, this was how Gardner was sent to jail for several days. After he was out, he found out that his girlfriend had left him. That was not really the best time of his life – he had no money, no home, no family and he had to live in a boarding house.



Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner, a pic by Angela George, on Wikimedia.org

When Gardner was looking for a brokerage firm, he had managed to arrange an interview with a manager of such a company. It was after a couple of days. This was the last chance for him. He had to persuade the manager to hire him. Having no clothes, he had to appear dressed in jeans and sporting shoes, which wouldn’t help much. Maybe luck was on his side at that time, or he just was very persuasive, but he got the job.

Nice so far, but after a while, his ex-girlfriend came to him and told him that she didn’t want the baby anymore. Children were not allowed in the boarding house where he was and he found himself homeless with a little kid. Gardner was in a nightmare. He and his little boy had to sleep in the cheapest hotels they could find. Spending more time with his son, left him with less time to work, which reflected on his salary and income. At some point in time, they had to even move into a homeless hotel, because they couldn’t afford anything else. They lived there for a year. Every day, they had to carry all of their stuff with them, because there were no keys in the building.

After a while, Gardner managed to save enough money to return to his previous home with his kid. His colleagues never understood anything about his extreme life. Slowly he managed to step back on his legs and return to normal living. In 1982, Chris passed a broker licensing exam and became a full employee of the company. He didn’t stop elevating his career and continued ahead. Everything went well and he founded his own brokerage company in Chicago a few years later with $10 000 in initial capital. His first office was in his apartment, where his working desk was transformed into a dining table in the evening.

Chris Gardner Today

Today Chris Gardner is a famous investor, entrepreneur, publisher, and philanthropist. In a few words – a very successful man, who has achieved everything in his life starting from scratch. He gives nice amounts to charity, helping poor and unemployed people not only with money but also with clothes and education.

He has risen from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s most successful businessmen. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1954, Gardner was raised by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet. Gardner dropped out of high school when he was 17 and joined the Navy a year later. He served honorably for five years before deciding to pursue a career in business.

Gardner worked various jobs before he found success as a stockbroker. In 1982, he founded his own brokerage firm, Gardner Rich & Co., becoming one of the few African Americans to own a brokerage house at the time. His business flourished and he soon became one of the millionaire’s club members having made millions on Wall Street.

Despite his financial success, Gardner has devoted much of his life to helping others in need. In 1997, he established The Chris Gardner Foundation, which provides financial and emotional resources to at-risk children, single mothers and fathers, homeless individuals, and other underserved members of the community. Over the years Gardner’s foundation has helped fund the construction of several temporary shelters for the homeless; provided food and clothing to those facing hunger; supported education through scholarships and tutoring programs; and organized job fairs for veterans and ex-offenders re-entering into society.

Gardner’s story also serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere. He wrote his best-selling autobiography “The Pursuit of Happyness” where he candidly recounted his tumultuous journey toward success with vivid detail. The book won numerous awards and has been read by millions around the world. Additionally, his story was made into a movie starring Will Smith as Gardner and earned multiple awards upon its release in 2006.

A celebrated philanthropist as well as a business magnate, Gardner continues to pave the way for entrepreneurs today with tremendous success until today with much enthusiasm even at this age (69 by 2023).

In 2006, Gardner issued a book about his life called “The Pursuit of Happiness”, in which you can see some life lessons in getting from where you are to where you want to be. At the end of the same year, The Pursuit of Happiness Movie was released, which is a must-watch film for everyone.

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