Chris Gardner's son is his source of motivation, dedicates all his struggles to Gardner Jr.
Chris Gardner’s inspirational life struggles were grand enough to be awarded its own movie, The Pursuit of Happiness.
If you have watched the movie, you probably know that the multimillionaire’s bizarre life story circles around a single character: his son. He has claimed on multiple occasions that his son is the source of his motivation and the person he dedicates all his struggles to—and he seems to hold his son in high regard.
Grew up in an Abusive Household
Gardner himself went through numerous struggles in the early stages of his life. Born in Milwaukee in 1954, he had to live without a father in his life.
He instead lived with his mother and a stepfather who was alcoholic and, at times, abusive. Hence, he had to witness his mother and his sister being beaten several times by his step-father when he was a child. The homeless-turned-millionaire was even sent to a foster home a couple of times when his mother was arrested for welfare fraud and tried to burn his stepfather.
The investor never had a proper father-figure at home, and the closest person to a father was his uncle Henry who apparently had a huge influence on him. However, he had to go through his uncle's loss too, which left Gardner utterly alone.
Went Homeless with a 14-Month-Old Son
Hardship never seemed to leave the now-millionaire. Even into adulthood, he was still struggling.
Gardner was holding a very low-income job at a brokerage firm when his son Christopher Jarrett Gardner Jr. was born—in 1981. He didn’t have a good relationship with his son’s mother, and in 1982, she left him and their 14-month-old son to fend for themselves.
Since his income alone was not enough to pay for the house rent, he and his son had to spend a year homeless on the streets of San Francisco. The investor claims to have slept in under his desk at work, parks, church centers, and even public toilets.
While the movie based on his life depicts his son as a 5-year-old, the rags to riches investor claims that his son was, in reality, only a 14-month-old. This meant that he had to actively care for his child, which significantly added to the hardship of being homeless.
Dedicates His Life Struggles to His Son
Things eventually did turn around for Gardner, as many who have seen the film based on his life knows that fact.
Despite that, his undying love for his son hasn’t faded away one bit. Perhaps it was because of his own traumatizing childhood; the investor is set on giving his son the best childhood that he possibly can.
Gardner stressed this very fact while speaking with BBC, as he said that because of his own childhood, he would make sure his children would be well-loved and cared for even though he wasn’t.
I went through pain as a child so my children wouldn't have to. I made a decision as a five-year-old boy that my kids will know who their father is.