Life’s circumstances don’t have to be the defining point in your life.
“Listen I’m going to shoot it to you straight, Fred. Your biological mother, she threw you away, and me and Betty Mae, we didn’t want to send you through foster care and we adopted you, and you’re my son,” Freddie recalls his father revealing to him.
After the news that he had been discovered by his adopted parents near a dumpster, he shares the thoughts that ran through his mind.
“When he told me that, I was like, ‘OK I’m trash,’ and I felt unwanted,” said Freddie. “But he grabbed my should and he said, ‘Listen, don’t you ever let that both you.'”
Thankfully, Freddie continued to persevere, although the circumstances of his adoption continued to follow him throughout his youth.
“Kids used to bully me and call me, ‘Dumpster baby,’ ‘Trash can boy,’ ‘Nobody wants you,’ ‘You’re dirty,” said Freddie.
Nathan and Betty Mae lived in Quincy, a rural community with a population of about 8,000 people in North Florida, and were in their 50s when Freddie was born in 1989.
The two had fostered many children, but decided to take Freddie in at just two days old and adopted him as their own son.
“I saw my father always helping people, stopping on the side of the road helping strangers, feeding the homeless,” he shared. “He was an incredible man, and for them to take me in and raise me, that’s the man I want to be like.”
During the weekends Freddie and Nathan would go “dumpster diving,” looking for things that had been thrown away that could still be of good use.
Freddie had his eye out for a computer.
“It’s an old saying, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,'” he continued, “and I was always fascinated by computers. I always wanted a Gateway computer, but at that time we couldn’t afford one.”
One day, at nine years old Freddie and his father went into Goodwill and came across a broken Macintosh computer and the rest is history.
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“When I got it home and it wouldn’t come on, I took the computer apart,” said Freddie.
He wouldn’t stop until he was able to get the computer back up and running.
“As I was looking in it I saw capacitors that were broken. I had soldering guns there and I had radios and alarm clocks, so I took parts out of my father’s radio alarm clock and I soldered them into the circuit board.”
It took about 50 attempts before the computer finally powered on and it was at this moment that Freddie discovered he’d want to spend his life working within the field of technology.
Today, Freddie Figgers is a millionaire tech inventor with inventions that include a GPS tracker designed after his father, Natham, developed Alzheimer’s disease and began to wander.
In January 2014, he sold the rights to the tracker for $2.2 million, his father died within the same month.
Freddie continues to break barriers within the tech industry and is the husband of an attorney, Natlie Figgers. Together, they are raising a daughter who he says he will instill the following advice in.
“Never give up, no matter how cold the world may look,” he expressed.
If he would’ve given up, the trajectory of the life of Freddie Figgers could’ve looked completely different.
And for others, the 31-year-old entrepreneur says that he’d like to pass on this piece of advice: “Don’t let your circumstances define who you are.”