The Inspiring Story of Chris Gardner

On February 9 in the year 1954, the homeless-turned-millionaire whose story became a 2006 movie was born in Wisconsin, United States. His name is Christopher Gardner, the founder of the stock brokerage firm Gardner Rich & Co and investment company Christopher Gardner International Holdings.

Chris Gardner
Chris Gardner (Credit:

Before Chris Gardner saw the light of day, his father left him and his mother. He grew up with an abusive stepfather and later, he was brought to a foster home when his mother was jailed for trying to kill his stepfather. Early on, he learned the value of self-reliance and developed the determination to succeed.

Chris Gardner joined the United States Navy for four years right after finishing high school. When he was discharged in 1974, he worked as a caretaker of a medical laboratory in San Francisco. Later, he became a salesman of laboratory equipment. In 1982, he joined a training program for stockbrokers. Meanwhile, his relationship with his wife deteriorated, partly due to financial problems because he was not earning salary during the training period. His troubles were compounded by a conviction and imprisonment for not paying parking tickets. After his short incarceration, he found out that his wife left home with their son. It was a difficult time for him. He rented a small room while waiting for the result of his training.

After passing the examination for stockbrokers, he was hired by Dean Witter Reynolds. By this time, he got his son back but his boarding house could not allow children. Father and son found themselves sleeping in public places including toilets. Finally, he was able to entrust his son to a daycare center while he went to work. And he worked doubly hard with his difficult experiences always in his mind. He promised to himself that his own son should not undergo the same thing and he vowed to turn things around.

In less than a year, Chris was able to find a decent place for him and his son. After another three years, he was a multimillionaire and the proud owner of a brokerage firm, Gardner Rich and Company. He went on to write his autobiography with the title The Pursuit of Happyness (spelling was deliberate). His life was turned into a movie with no less than Will Smith playing his role. With his new found celebrity status, he travelled around the world as a motivational speaker.


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