A newborn only a few hours old was abandoned beside a dumpster in a rural area in Florida. A passerby heard the baby crying and called the police, who took him to the hospital. After that, the infant went into a foster home. However, there is a happy ending to this story. The baby found his forever home with Nathan and Betty Figgers, who already had a daughter. The family had fostered him before they decided to adopt him. He grew up to be Freddie Figgers, the entrepreneur, inventor, software engineer, and millionaire.
The First Computer
In elementary school, his peers would bully him, calling him “dumpster baby.” As Figgers, now 31, explained, “It’s a rural area, so after it happened, everybody heard about it. My parents told me the truth about what happened as I grew older.”
In fact, Figgers was eight years old when he learned about his birth. His father, Nathan, didn’t hide the truth from him, explaining that his birth mother threw him away. “When he told me that, I was like, ‘OK, I’m trash,’ and I felt unwanted. But he grabbed my shoulder, and he said, ‘Listen, don’t you ever let that bother you.'”
Also, Nathan was the person who set Freddie Figgers on his path to success. When he was nine, Nathan bought a broken 1989 Macintosh computer at a thrift shop for $25 for his son to tinker with. The boy was already fascinated with the inner workings of radios, alarm clocks, and VCRs. And Freddie became enthralled in taking the computer apart and putting it back together until it finally turned on. “I still have it,” he said. “It’s what sparked my interest in technology.”Freddie Figgers, Washington Post
At 13, he already earned a good reputation, earning a job repairing computers for the city of Quincy where he lived. At 15, he left high school and began his first company called Figgers Computers. He repaired computers and created servers to store data all in his living room.
At this point, he had already constructed his own cloud database. So he skipped college. “I wouldn’t recommend my path to everyone. But it worked for me. When I was 17, I had 150 clients that needed websites and storage for their files. I just kept building from there.”
Millions of Dollars
However, his big break came in 2021. At the age of 23, he sold a GPS tracker program to a company for $2.2 million. This program was inspired by Figgers father, who got Alzheimer’s disease and was prone to wandering off when confused. But with his device inserted into Nathan’s shoes, Figgers could track his father and speak with him. Unfortunately, Nathan Figgers passed away in 2014. This was shortly after his son started Figgers Communications, built from the money from the shoe tracker.
“It was difficult to watch him decline — it’s something you never forget,” said Freddie Figgers. “I’ve always been so grateful to him and my mom. They taught me not to let my circumstances define who I was.”
Later in life, he learned that his biological mother was a prostitute with a drug addiction. He hasn’t met her and has no plans to. “My parents adopted me and gave me love and a future,” he said. “They did their best to make the world a better place, and now that’s all I want to do, too.”
Additionally, Nathan’s death taught Figgers a lesson about money. He finally had millions, able to buy the 1993 Ford pick-up truck and a fishing boat his father had always wanted, but Nathan was gone.
“That really opened my eyes and taught me that money is nothing but a tool, and I’m going to do everything in my power to try to make the world a better place before I leave it,” said Freddie. “Knowing my father, he wasn’t a rich man at all, but he [made an impact on] so many people’s lives and I want to just do right by everyone I meet and help everyone I can.“Freddie Figgers, BBC News
Freddie Figgers’s Legacy
Today, Freddie Figgers lives in Parkland, Florida. He’s the founder of Figgers Wireless, a telecommunications company appraised in 2017 to be worth over $62 million. There’s also the Figgers Foundation, which helps a variety of causes from relief efforts after natural disasters to college scholarships for students.
Additionally, part of his business is selling data plans and smartphones, but Figgers remained passionate about improving health care and safety. He created a meter for those with diabetes to check and download their glucose levels through wireless technology. He is also expanding his “smart shoe” invention to help people stay in touch with loved ones who are homeless.
Figgers believes that his parents instilled him with kindness for others. “I owe my parents everything because they showed me compassion and the power of having good people around you. I never heard my father yell or get angry. He died in 2014, but ever since I was a kid, I knew that was the pair of shoes I wanted to step into.”Freddie Figgers, The Guardian
In 2015, Freddie married an attorney, Natalie Figgers, and they are raising their first child, Rose. “I’m at a happy place in my life — it’s important to me to pay it forward,” Freddie said. “I’m just one person, but I believe that if I can have an impact on even one other person, it can multiply. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that.”
- “Abandoned as a newborn and called ‘dumpster baby,’ he’s now an entrepreneur worth millions.” The Washington Post. Cathay Free. December 4, 2019
- “Freddie Figgers: The millionaire tech inventor who was ‘thrown away’ as a baby.” BBC. Lucy Wallis. June 6, 2021
- “Experience: I was abandoned as a baby.” The Guardian. Freddie Figgers. December 11, 2020