Freddie Figgers acquired his first computer at the age of nine. It was old and it didn’t work, but it was the beginning of a love affair with technology that made him an inventor, businessman and telecommunications millionaire – a future few would have foreseen after a difficult start in life.
“Do not let circumstances determine who you are.” This is the only piece of advice that 31-year-old businessman Freddie Figgers would like to convey to the world. When he was eight years old, he asked his father, Nathan, about the circumstances of his birth, and his answer was unforgettable.
“He told me, ‘I’ll tell you straight, Fred. “Your biological mother abandoned you, and Betty May and I did not want to send you into a foster family and we adopted you. You are our son.”
Freddie was found abandoned next to a trash can in the Florida county. “When he told me this, I said, ‘Okay, I’m rubbish,’ and I felt unwanted. But he grabbed me by the shoulder and said, “Listen, never let that bother you.”
Nathan Figgers was a conservator and craftsman and Betty Mae Figgers was a farm worker. They lived in Quincy, a rural community of about 8,000 in North Florida, and were both in their 50s when Freddie was born in 1989.
They had already adopted many children, but decided to take Freddie when he was two days old and adopt him. Freddie says they gave him all the love he could ever need – but the other kids in Quincy were hard on him.
“The kids used to scare me and yell at me, ‘Baby in the trash,’ ‘Boy in the trash,’ ‘Nobody wants you,’ ‘You’re dirty,” he says. “I remember getting off the school bus a few times and the kids coming in from behind, grabbing me and throwing me in the trash and laughing with me.”
He got to the point where his father was waiting for him at the bus stop and escorting him home, but the children were making fun of him too, Freddie recalls, “saying, ‘Look at the old man with the cane.'” For Freddie, Nathan and Betty Mae were heroes and role models.
“I used to see my father always helping people, stopping on the side of the road to help strangers, feeding the homeless,” he says. “He was an incredible man, I want to look like him.”
On the weekends, father and son were looking in the trash for useful things that had been thrown away by their owners. Freddie was frantically looking for a computer. “There’s an old saying, ‘The rubbish of one is the treasure of the other,'” says Freddie, “and I’ve always been fascinated by computers. “I always wanted a computer, but at that time we could not buy it.”
Finally, one day, when Freddie was nine years old, they went to a thrift store, where they stumbled upon a damaged Macintosh computer. “We convinced the seller,” says Freddie, “and he said, ‘Well, I’ll give it to you for $ 24,’ so we took the computer home and I was so ecstatic.”
After about 50 attempts, he says, the computer finally worked – and at that point Freddie says he knew he wanted to spend his life working as a techie. “This computer relieved me of the pain of bullying,” he says. Every time he was teased at school, he says he always thought, “I can’t wait to go home to play with my computer.”
He was 12 years old when his abilities were noticed by others. At an out-of-school club while other children were playing on the playground, Freddie was repairing damaged computers in the school computer lab.
The director of the club was also the mayor of Quincy and when he saw that he was bringing the damaged computers back to life, he asked him to come to the town hall with his parents. “When we got to the town hall, he showed me all these computers in the back, maybe 100 of them stacked, and he said, ‘I want these computers repaired.'”
Since then, he has spent every day after school repairing computers for $ 12 an hour. A few years later, a special opportunity arose. Quincy needed a computer code system to control the city’s pressure sensors, and a company had offered $ 600,000 to develop a computer program. He undertook the project himself. He was not paid the $ 600,000, he only got his regular salary.
But it was a turning point in Freddie’s life. He was only 15 years old, but had now decided to drop out of school and start his own IT business – much to the disappointment of his parents.
Freddie started his own company and was doing well. After about two years, however, his father developed Alzheimer’s. One of his symptoms was leaving home and getting lost. To help him, he inspired his first invention.
“My father was missing and I could press a button on the laptop and talk to him, ask him where he was.” His father did not know where he was but Freddie found him via GPS and took him home. He did it about 8 times.
His father passed away a short time later, when Freddie was 24 years old. She never left him, she took him with him to every meeting. This loss crushed him psychologically. “It simply came to my notice then. He taught me that money is nothing but a tool. I will do everything to make the world better than it was when I opened my eyes. I know my father. “He was poor but he helped so many people that he taught me.”
Freddie had already sold his invention for $ 2.2 million and launched another: At 22, he invented a smart glucometer that instantly sends a person’s blood sugar levels to a close relative and adds the measurements to the electronic file. his health, which the doctor can see. If a person’s blood sugar level is abnormal, the device sends an alert as a warning. His inventions were increasing and he is now a millionaire and a great businessman.
Start a family. Freddie says the most important piece of advice he would give his little girl about life would be “never put it down, no matter how cold the world may seem” and try to make a positive impact on the life of every person she meets. It’s a message his father and number one supporter, Nathan, would strongly agree with.
Main photo: www.bbc.com
Source: Εναλλακτική Δράση by enallaktikidrasi.com.
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