The co-founder of Canada's largest specialty chain of coffee shops was once homeless because of a drinking problem


While he was in his early 20s, Frank O'Dea was panhandling and living on the streets, according to John Demont at The Chronicle Herald.

That was, until he and his business partner opened Second Cup, which is the largest specialty coffee chain in Canada today with 360 locations.




Personal finance guru Suze Orman is now worth approximately $25 million, but she lived out of her van for four months in 1973


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When she first moved to Berkeley, California, Orman couldn't afford to move out of her van — today she owns about $7 million worth of real estate, reported

The well-known Emmy-winning financial advisor has also published numerous New York Times bestsellers.

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After being fired, Jewel was homeless for about a month and almost died in a parking lot


Before becoming the multi-platinum singer Jewel, she lived on the streets after losing her job. In an interview with Adam on Showbizspy, the singer said:

“I ended up homeless because my boss propositioned me and when I wouldn’t sleep with him he didn’t give me my paycheck,” she said.

“I got kicked out of where I was living and my rent was due that next day.

“I thought ‘Well, I’ll live in my car for a minute… get back on my feet,’ but I had bad kidneys and I never could hold down another job because I got sick so often. I didn’t have insurance and ended up almost dying in the parking lot of an emergency room because they wouldn’t admit me because I didn’t have insurance.

“I ended up homeless for about a month and I went back to singing.”




Chris Gardner inspired the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" and was homeless with a young son while he was in a finance training program


Aside from a movie based on his life starring Will Smith, Gardner also has two New York Times bestselling books under his belt: his autobiography "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be."

But before his story was shared with the world, Gardner was living on the streets with his young son. At the time, he was trying to pursue a career in finance despite not having any experience in it, or even a college degree. He received a spot on the Dean Witter Reynolds training program, but couldn't afford to live off of the small salary, and his wife eventually left. 

He is also a motivational speaker and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

According to his Web site, Gardner's childhood was "marked by poverty, domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual abuse and family illiteracy."





Michael Oher's story of homelessness and struggle in 'The Blind Side' was inspirational to the world


During his childhood and teenaged years, Oher was living on the streets while his crack-addicted mother lived in public housing, reported NPR. 

He was eventually taken in to live with a wealthy family, played college football at the University of Mississippi and drafted into the NFL in 2009 for the Baltimore Ravens. 

His inspirational story was turned into Michael Lewis's 2006 book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game" and the movie "The Blind Side."