Parenthood
Parents throw baby in trash not knowing he’d grow up to become the founder of a $62M company
31-year-old entrepreneur Freddie Figgers has just one piece of advice: “Don’t let your circumstances define who you are.”
Elijah Chan
11.30.22

It’s not about the circumstance you’re born into but how you work yourself through it.

31-year-old entrepreneur Freddie Figgers has just one piece of advice to people: “Don’t let your circumstances define who you are.”

But what was the life Figgers lived and how did he manage to find his way to the podium of success? It all started with a broken computer.

When he was eight years old, Figgers faced a piece of truth that would change his life forever.

“He said, ‘Listen I’m going to shoot it to you straight, Fred. Your biological mother, she threw you away,’” Figgers recalled his conversation with Nathan Figgers, his adoptive father.

Figgers was found abandoned next to a dumpster and he always considered that as a metaphor for his formative years – that he’s a piece of trash.

But despite this self-deprecating perception, Nathan and his wife Betty Mae always reminded him that he was more than just a discarded baby.

Life wasn’t kind to young Figgers.

He was constantly bullied when kids knew about his past and it reached a point where his father had to wait for him at the bus stop.

But through all that, Figgers still learned the value of looking after other people, much like how his father did to the community.

When he was nine, Figgers’ parents gave him a secondhand Macintosh.

It wasn’t at all impressive and it was in need of repairs. However, Figgers treated it like it was the most important thing in the world.

He has always been a tinkerer. Using capacitors from his father’s radio alarm clock, he replaced the computer’s broken parts and it switched on. At that moment, he knew what he wanted to do.

He eventually worked his way to the city hall at the tender age of 12.

His first career was fixing computers for the town. Then, his big break came when the city asked him to make a program to check the city’s water gauges.

YouTube Screenshot - Figgers Wireless
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Figgers Wireless

But his most important work came from adversity. Nathan was rapidly developing Alzheimer’s and would wander out aimlessly. He then made a simple speaker system with a GPS tracker installed in Nathan’s shoe. So if Nathan wandered off, he could easily find him.

Figgers wanted to do something more for the community with the gifts he possessed.

His biggest idea came when he realized that big parts of rural America don’t even have a 2G or 3G network. Quincy, the town he was from, was still using dial-up.

No one wanted to invest in these towns and Figgers wanted to fill that gap. He established Figgers Communication and became the youngest telecom operator in the US. The company is also the only black-owned telecommunications company in the US.

Besides the company, he also has a foundation that invests in disadvantaged communities.

Through all of the pain, loss, and challenges he endured, he said that all of these became necessary in shaping him into the man he is today.

YouTube Screenshot - Figgers Wireless
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Figgers Wireless

If there’s something he wants to leave his little girl, it’s the lesson “never give up, no matter how cold the world may look,” and more importantly, for her to make a positive impact on the people she meets.

Watch how this dumpster baby became the youngest telecommunications operator in the US.

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By Elijah Chan
[email protected]
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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