Chris Atoki had no shoulders to cry on. He knew he had to strive harder to make things happen for him.
When troubles come our way, some of us lose hope and give up easily. But, when we do that we are defeating ourselves. Instead, we need to believe in ourselves and be hopeful. After all, there is light at the end of every tunnel. Chris Atoki's story is one that proves it right. He overcame the tough period and took the reins of his life.
Now in his early 20's, Chris was always a hardworking guy. When he was 18, Chris attended school and worked at the same time to support his mother. He woke up every morning at 7 AM and attended his classes till three in the afternoon. After that, he took a two-hour nap before waking up for his 5 PM to 5 AM shift, according to Thread Reader App. This was Chris's routine until his employer decided to cut his working hours. "One day my manager at my job says he has to cut a few people’s hours and since I’m in school, he picked me to be one of those. I figured it was fine. I could still pay mom rent and I would be able to sleep in so yay right?" said Chris, according to Goalcast.
4 years ago I was homeless sleeping in my car, showering at the gym, wondering where my next meal would come from. Today I’m officially a homeowner! pic.twitter.com/GpI18DEzxa— Chris Atoki (@KingAtoki) July 7, 2020
But that did not discourage the young man, he adjusted himself to the new shift timings and continued to provide for his mother. But two weeks later, he received devastating news. He was laid off. Chris was heartbroken. It was his only source of income. “Here I am 18 years old. The only job I had was filling trucks and I’m still going to school because that’s what I was taught you have to do to make it. The problem is with no income and no parental help I lost even more," revealed Chris.
After losing his job, Chris was forced to discontinue school. He could not afford it and found no ways to fund his education. Though he applied for scholarships, he only received one and that did not suffice. However, matters became worse after he ended up in bad terms with his mother. She kicked him out of the house and the young man had nowhere to go. He tried to find refuge at his grandmother's and his girlfriend's but it was all in vain. "I got kicked out in November in the cold. Tried to crash on my grandma's couch. Didn’t last. Tried to stay and my girlfriend's dorm. Nope her dad didn’t like that. Understandable," said the young man.
Chris’s story is absolutely incredible. The level of work and sacrifice it takes for him to be where he is now is astounding.— Austen Allred (@Austen) July 8, 2020
Eventually, the helpless young man found shelter in his car. With no money and not many clothes to warm himself during the chilly cold nights, Chris was on the verge of giving up. "I parked in front of Walmart. Freezing cold. Less than a dollar in my account. I think it was like $0.83 or something. No family. No friends. No money. Hungry. Felt like giving up. Cried. Tried to sleep," remembered Chris. He was emotionally broken and had no shoulder to cry on. Moreover, he did not know how to survive in the days that followed.
He spent the night thinking about his directionless life and realized he has none but himself. “I didn’t sleep. I was thinking about how much I hated everything. My mom, my dad, my father. My family. My job. College. My rusty car. People. But most of all myself. I told myself that my situation was an accumulation of why my life didn’t matter," recalled Chris. He knew no one was going to fight for him. That thought was his turning point. "I felt like I was born again. Like a different person. I was going to grab life by the horns," said Chris.
The young man was energized and determined. "The only person I could truly count on was myself.” He was not going to waste a single second. He went to a library and applied for every job vacancy available. After growing tired of all the odd jobs, Chris applied to Mattress Firm and got the job there.
Though he had a job at hand, he was still homeless and the pay was not enough for him to get a place of his own. “I couldn’t afford an apartment yet so I would shower at the gym next to the store and show up to work,” said the young man. Eventually, he rented out a studio and continued to work. But, something did not feel right. Chris always wanted to complete his education and move up the ladder. So, he decided to apply for online classes. "I was doing this for a while but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t want to do this for the rest of my life, but I also couldn’t go back to school. I looked up some online schools and after a while I saw @LambdaSchool come up. It checked all the boxes," said Chris.
Lambda School was the perfect opportunity for Chris but there were a few hurdles in front of him. The school only offered full-time courses and the young man could not afford to take it as he was employed full time. Instead of thinking of another option, he took a leap of faith. He wrote a letter to the Lambda School's CEO, Austen Allred, detailing his problem. Though he did not anticipate a reply, he was left surprised. His conversation with Austen motivated him to continue. Moreover, he had another reason that encouraged him to complete his school. By then, Chris had become a father and the young man wanted to lead by example.“Another reason to fight and push myself. I wasn’t the best father when he was first born but I’ve corrected my mistakes and pushed on," said the young man.
And I'd like to ask you. As being homeless once myself, what changed things for you? For me, it was perspective or mindset.— Clayton Scott (@claytonmscott) July 8, 2020
Soon, he completed his education and became a teaching assistant. He inspired his students and helped them accomplish their dreams. Meanwhile, he applied for other jobs. His salary doubled and after four years of being homeless, he bought a house for him and his family. "I kept grinding and kept learning and I moved on to another job where I was making more on top of that. And didn’t stop there." Chris's success is a culmination of sheer courage and hard work.