a salary of $80,000 — not a year, but a month. Over a series of lunches, the gentleman explained to Gardner exactly what he did and how he did it. And Gardner, at the time a low-paid salesman, believed he could do it too.
However, before he got the chance, Gardner would endure unemployment, time in jail, poverty, and ultimately homelessness. If that wasn’t enough, Gardner became a single father when the mother of his young son dropped the child off at the rooming house where he was living. Despite all this, Gardner somehow achieved the goal he set after he talked to the guy in the red Ferrari: to become a wealthy and successful securities broker.
Today, Gardner, 52, is the CEO of his own multimillion-dollar investment firm, Gardner Rich L.L.C., in Chicago. His story has become a book, The Pursuit of Happyness (Amistad; $14.95), and the recently released movie of the same name starring Will Smith. BLACK ENTERPISE caught up with Gardner to talk about his journey.