Chris Gardner's Story

"They saw that I had potential."

Featuring: Chris Gardner; Allison, Chris’s fiancée; Tia, Chris’s student

Chris – I’m Chris Gardner. I like speakers—audio—anything of that nature. It makes all the difference if you can feel the sound. These speakers are actually my second love.

Allison – He calls them his babies. I don’t even get that nickname.

Chris – This is Allison. She is my fiancée. She is everything that I look for in a woman. She’s hardworking. She’s compassionate. Yeah! I feel like hiding.

When I was growing up, I had kind of a rough childhood. About the age of 14, I started to have depression and social anxiety. My social phobia got so bad that it was hard to hold a job. A lot of times, in order to cope with the depression, I found myself using drugs and alcohol just to be able to get through the day without having a complete collapse. One night I almost overdosed, and I really didn’t know if I was going to recover, if I was going to make it. And it helped me realize that I needed to make a change. It was at this time that I started the interviewing process at Deseret Industries.

When I first started, I started working here in the laundry. And then after laundry, I worked over in this area with the bigger merchandise. From day one, it was completely different than any other job that I had applied for. They saw that I had potential. They wanted to take what I had and make me better.

Donations at Deseret Industries give opportunities for people like me to change my life. They are what drive Deseret Industries.

I also met Allison at Deseret Industries. It has been great since then.

Working at Deseret Industries helped me realize that I wanted to help people, and it made me want to go back to school and get a degree in special education.

Allison – Shall we pull out your books?

Chris – What book would you like to read, Tia? Which one of those is your favorite?

Tia – Puppy.

Chris – And now I have a great job working with individuals with special needs. I help them improve their quality of life.

Allison – OK, your turn, Tia.

Chris – I have a direction. I know where I want to go, and I have the skills to do it. Deseret Industries has helped me overcome those challenges that I had.