Hours after he was born in 1989, Freddie Figgers was abandoned next to a dumpster in a rural area.
A passerby found him alone and in distress, and called police. The infant was hospitalized then placed in a foster home. The couple who took him in, Nathan and Betty Figgers, named him Freddie.
His friends in school always bullied him and called him “dumpster baby” .
“It’s a rural area, so after it happened, everybody heard about it,”he explained. “My parents told me the truth about what happened as I grew older. I thought about it a lot as a kid, and I’d have to say it was embarrassing when I was younger.”
His life hit a turning point when he was 9, he said, when his father bought him a used Macintosh computer and that’s what sparked his interest in technology.
He’d gotten so good at tinkering with computers. When he was 13, he was hired to repair computers. When he was 15, he started his first company, Figgers Computers, repairing computers in his parents’ living room and helping clients store their data on servers he created.
When he was 17, he already had 150 clients. His big break came several years later when he was 23, he sold a GPS tracker program to a company in Kansas for $2.2 million(RM9.1Mil).
His dad had Alzheimer’s disease. “I created a device that I could insert in his shoe that would allow me to track him, plus talk to him through his shoe,” said Figgers.
His dad died in 2014, shortly after he started Figgers Communications and developed 80 custom software programs with the money he’d earned from his “smart shoe” technology.
“I’ve always been so grateful to him and my mom. They taught me not to let my circumstances define who I was.” he said.
Figgers, who now lives in Parkland, Florida, is the founder of Figgers Wireless, a privately held telecommunications company that he said was appraised in 2017 to be worth more than $62 million( RM257mil)
He also runs the Figgers Foundation, which donates to a variety of causes, including relief efforts after natural disasters, college scholarships for high school students and assistance with school supplies for cash-strapped teachers.
“The best thing any human being can do is influence another one,” said Figgers, who credits his adoptive parents for believing in him and allowing him to channel his energy into creative computer projects at a young age.
Although Figgers does a sizeable business selling his smartphones and data plans, he said he is still passionate about combining technology with health care and safety.
He sells a wireless blood glucose meter for people with diabetes that allows patients to download and share glucose levels through Bluetooth technology. And he is working on a project similar to his “smart shoe” technology to help families stay in touch with loved ones.
This is inspiring ! Never underestimate yourself, you are much more than what you think.