Inspiring rags to riches story of Chris Gardner

Chris Gardner inspirational life teaches us that tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

Many times, you come across stories about courage and determination where a man can even move mountains to achieve their goal. The success story of Chris Gardner is one such tale. How a homeless and desolate man with the power of grit, hard work and determination is able to turn his life around.  Here is one such story.

Early life

Chris Gardner had a pretty rough childhood. He grew up in poverty and was often mistreated by his step-father. The only source of inspiration in this misery was his mother, Bettye Jean. She always inspired and encouraged him. According to Gardner, much of the self-believe, which later changed the course of his life, was given by his mother.


Gardner enlisted in the army soon after completing his schooling. After his discharge, he joined a cardiac surgeon and assisted him in his clinical research. After becoming a father in 1981, he decided to take up the job of a medical equipment salesman.

A life-changing moment for Gardner

During this time, Gardner once helped a man find a parking spot for his Ferrari. After being impressed by the car, Gardner curiously asked the man in the car that what does he do for the living? The car driver laughed and said that he is a stockbroker. Gardner decided there and then that this is what he wants to do for the rest of his life.

Struggling with homelessness

The Ferrari driver was Bob Bridges, who introduced him to the world of finance. He even arranged his meeting with the managers of brokerage firms. He eventually managed to get an internship at Dean Witter but was given a meagre stipend. He had no saving and was once jailed for the non-payment of his parking fines. He didn’t even have money to rent an apartment and was soon on the streets with his young son. He and his son would spend the nights in cheap motels, subway washrooms, and even under Chris’s desk at work. Gardner, apart from the internship, did odd jobs to support his son. At last, his perseverance paid off, and he got a job at Dean Witter and in 1987 started his own firm, Gardner Rich & Co. Soon it became the leading firm that opened markets overseas.

In 2006, he wrote his biography “The Pursuit of Happyness” where the misspelling was intentional. His inspiring tale was adapted in a motion picture where Will Smith played the role of Gardner.