Even if your life has been wrecked by child abuse, drugs, alcohol, and homelessness, it's never too late to start anew. Dr. Kevin Pecca introduces Thomas Andrews, the Founder and CEO of T3PowerReady Systems. In this episode, Thomas shares his life story and the lessons he's learned. Growing up in a violent childhood amidst constant racism pushed Thomas into a life of addiction. He would continue down this destructive path for many years until that life-changing event when he decided to serve others. He slept for two and a half years in his car, yet he spent that time serving other homeless people. Join in the conversation and let Thomas' life story inspire you to try again. It's never too late! Tune in!
Listen To The Episode Here
It's Never Too Late With Thomas Andrews
T3 Power Ready
If you have any questions or comments, you can email me at DrKevinPecca@Gmail.com. My website is also DrKevinPecca.com. Thank you so much for reading another episode. We have a doozy lined up for you. We have Thomas Andrews, Founder, Entrepreneur, and CEO of T3 Power Ready. I met Thomas on the beach during my layover. I had a ten-hour layover in LA going back to New Jersey. Thomas was on the beach having a profound conversation with someone he hadn't seen in ten years.
After that conversation, we got to talk and he was sharing his story. It's one of the best stories I've ever heard. It's inspiring. It's what this show is all about. No matter what you've been through in this life, it's never too late to bounce back, get your life back on track, and do some incredible things. Thomas is a true testament to that. He had a rough life growing up at home. School wasn't easy for him at a young age. He went down the wrong path a couple of times. By the grace of God, he bounced back. He's doing some incredible things. He never gave up. He's got such a positive attitude and energy about him that drew me to him. It was an honor to have him on the show.
This is what the podcast is all about, making your life beautiful again, inspiring people, and doing great work. It was an honor to have Thomas Andrews on the show. You can reach him on his website, YouTube, and Instagram, @T3PowerReady. He makes this phenomenal gym bag that you can take anywhere with you. You can fill it up with sand and you could do a workout wherever you want. You don't need a gym. You could do it outside, which is a beautiful thing. Without further ado, please welcome Thomas Andrews.
Thomas, you have such an amazing story. I'm excited to have you on to share with people. How are you?
I'm outstanding. I'm happy this day is here. I'm happy our meeting brought us to this point.
Sometimes, the most difficult things in life don't come easy, but they're the best thing. I'm excited for everybody to learn about your story. Thomas, where does your story begin? Where are you from?
I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born in 1962. My story began in the era of Black voices awakening, fighting for civil rights. That's what I remember about my story. Martin Luther King, Huey P. Newton, Malcolm X, JFK, there were a lot of Black leaders, I like to call them new thought leaders, who were assassinated during my time. We were taken from an all-Black school to an all-White school.
You were in the middle of that?
In third grade, we got an introduction where the white kids came to our school for a day. There might have been a trial run, I remember. The following year, it was full-on. They were sent to the White neighborhood.
The only real introduction I've seen with that is that movie Remember the Titans. You get a glimpse of it, but it's craziness.
It was like that. I can share something about that story. As a kid, you never think about that. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I never thought about my color as being a disadvantage or people not liking that. I never saw that.
It’s something that's almost taught.
It's learned. I read about this doctor who talked about from the ages of 0 to 7 is when the consciousness of children begins to take on its shape when it's formed and everything happens from that point on. For me, it was crazy. My consciousness was all about survival. At home, how do I survive? At school, how do I survive?
What was going on at home?
My father believed in this scripture, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” That was one of his favorites. He wasn't one to spare the rod. Any opportunity he’d get, he’d tapped that ass. He was physical with me, my mom, and my stepbrother. In retrospect, it was disturbing. As a kid, I felt like it was a fight on all fronts.
You fight every day. You didn't know when it was coming.
Also, from where it was coming, whether it's at school, at home, or if it’s in this religious ideology, they had us sign-on. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness.
You said something incredibly mind-blowing before. You were taught from a young age that the world was going to end in 1974.
It was 1975. They used this scripture, Matthew 24:14, to reinforce the work. They said, “This good news of the kingdom must be preached throughout the entire inhabited Earth and then the end will come.” They said the end was coming in 1975. As a kid, I asked my father, “Why couldn’t I do certain things? Why couldn’t I go out for sports? Why couldn't I draw, paint, sing, or do some of the things I enjoyed?” I was intelligent as a kid. He said, “There's no need for that. There's no need to get involved in any of that type of nonsense.” I’m like, “What do you mean?” He said, “The world is going to be over in 1975. There's going to be a new world order of the system that's going to be in place.” We had to go out on Saturdays and Sundays and knock on doors.
I remember people doing that in my neighborhood. We’d get a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses every now and then knocking on the door asking to come in and explain the religion and everything.
That's what we did. For me, it was selling Watchtowers and Awake! for $0.10. I didn't get it. People thought I spoke well. I had these little penny loafers and this big old smile. They would listen to me and give me $0.25 and take my magazines. We practice this thing five days a week. That's why I was introduced to White people.
I thought White people were cool. I saw them when I was a Jehovah's Witness. I had no problems. When I was going into the fourth grade and they were bused into our school system, I began to hear that I was being called nigger. I heard it so much. I didn't know what it meant because my family never prepared me for, “This is what you're going to get when you go into school.”
They probably didn't even know either.
My father is a sharecropper's son. My grandmother used to clean houses. She was part of the cotton-picking slavery. That was her upbringing. He knew what it was but for some reason, they didn't tell me what to expect. Here I am. I remember my teacher, Miss Eidelman. I’ll never forget this. I had my head down on my desk. I was having a shitty day.
You took a pretty big beating the night before, is that right?
Yes. Pop said, “Put one on me.” He would beat us with switches or extension cords. It would take the skin off. I didn't bathe and I was smelling. My teacher, when she came underneath to talk to me, she'd noticed my smell and she went into the fact that I stink.
You couldn't take a shower because the wounds were bad.
We didn't have a shower. I couldn't take a bath because it would sting to take a bath. All she noticed was my stench and went to talk about that. She didn't know what happened the night before. After sobbing, I had a chance to ask her, “Why are people calling me nigger? Why is that?” She had no answer.
You probably caught her off guard.
All these things perplexed me as a child growing up. For most of my life, up to 13, 14, I felt like the world was going to end.
Also, I didn't belong. I didn't have access to everything that everyone else had because I was Black and that the world was going to be over. That was my whole upbringing. That was the lens in which I looked at life.
Thomas, what happened when the world didn't end?
Nobody said anything. I'm like, “The world is not ending. What's up?” I was probably 11 or 12 years old. I found out they started a new date.
We kept rolling through.
It was 2000. Physically, I was gifted. I was faster than most of the kids. I was strong. In my eye, I could see it and I could draw it. I was good at drawing. I was a vocalist. I could sing at a young age. I went through it and I kept asking my father, “Can I do these things?” My teachers wanted me to take part in different art projects and art things to advance my artistry. The choir directors wanted me to come and sing.
You're getting positive attention, positive feedback. You finally found something you're good at.
My father went right back to the world was going to be over, but then he had a new scripture and it was 1 Corinthians 15:33. He said, “Bad association spoils you for habits.” Those two scriptures are in my head. Those were his reasons for saying, “You can't do any of these things because these bad associations are going to spoil your useful habits.” I'm like, “What happens?”
Did you have to go back to your teacher and say, “I can't do this right now?”
I did. They asked to talk to him and they got the same response. Probably around 14 or 15, because he wanted me to get baptized, I decided, “I've had enough of this. I’ve had enough of you beating me. I've had enough of mom getting beat. I had enough of the racism in school.” By the sixth grade, I finally started fighting back when kids were calling me nigger.
On our last day of school in sixth grade, I started punching people in the face who called me that word. On my last day of school, I had three assault charges. I'm teeing off. I said, “That's enough.” I told myself, “When I get sixteen, I want to get a job. I'm going to buy some weights. I am going to whoop my father's ass. I'm running away from home.” That was my new goal.
A wildly different sixteen-year-old picture than most kids.
It was a little different. One day, I got my chance. Sixteen came and I got a job at Wendy's, flipping hamburgers. I bought my first weight set from Sears and Roebucks, a 110-pound weight set. I've been practicing some wrestling with some of the guys who are on the wrestling team because my father wouldn’t let me wrestle. I'd learned to fireman throw pretty well.
One day, I bought this magnetic race car set. It was a nice set. I bought it from my earnings. My brother wanted to play and I said, “No. This is all mine.” He went and told dad. I’ll never forget, Dad came upstairs and he hit me hard with an open hand. He hit me so hard that it left an imprint on my face. I remember scrambling to my feet. I saw his legs and I shot underneath him, scooped him up, and dropped him. In my thoughts, that's as far as it got.
That was your only move.
What do I do next? My father is 6’1”, 220.
A big guy. That must have stunned him.
He looked up at me. First of all, he was surprised. I saw straight anger come over his face. That's the day I left home.
He did something before that. Was this when he put the gun to your head? That was later on.
I remember everything you told me. Your story is wild.
The beatings were a part of my life. After I left home, I had a family who took me in. I used to share with my schoolmate what my father used to do. This family took me in and they didn't have a lot. I ended up going back home. After about 3 or 4 months, my father came over, apologized and told me to come back home. I did. When I came back home, it was pretty much the same. The beatings were still there. I learned how not to cry anymore. I’m like, “Here we go again.” I got numb to them.
I had already graduated. This was when the family was getting ready to take a trip to Swainsboro, Georgia. I came over because all the kids were going to college and they were taking vacations and taking their high school trips. I came over because I felt maybe go down South with them. An argument broke out and my little brother punched my father. My father, in his mind, couldn't see my younger brother punching him. He thought it was me.
I left the house. I ran out of the house, but I came back around because I wanted to make sure my mom was okay. That’s when he met me at the back door and I'm looking up at his gun. He's over me and I'm like, “Pops, don't kill me. I didn't do it. It wasn't me.” My mom and sister were crying. He lowered the gun and he said, “Get in the car. We’re going down South.” I didn't get in the car. I’m like, “Go ahead. I'm good.” I was out there doing my thing. I had no real grounding to anything solid in life or what I wanted to do in life. I'm out here floating in the wind.
Where did life take you after that?
I had a friend of mine. I met my first mentor. His initials are RW. He taught me how to bag up cocaine. He taught me how to take it and put a one on it, spread it up, bag it up, and sell it. I started doing that. I started terrorizing life, people. I remember one night we went out and we shot up this van. These kids called us nigger once again. The word was a trigger for me. We shot this van up one night and the kids didn't see that coming. The police were called. Me and my boy were going down the street and laughing. My boy pulled the trigger and I'm driving. The next thing you know, I see these police car lights coming up the street. We’re going on 75 North. I see these police lights crossing the median trying to get to the other side. I'm like, “What's going on?” The lights were coming up from behind. I’m like, “They’re coming for us.” My boy quickly threw the gun out.
They forced us over the side of the road. They got on their little speaker, “Get out with your hands up. Get out right now.” My boy had gotten out and he was coming around the car. I was still in the car. I opened the door to get out, but the car was still in drive. I jumped back in to put the car in park because it was moving. A family friend was on the police force that night. He says, “I don't know why we didn't shoot you. You were armed and dangerous. I don't know to this day why they didn't shoot when you jumped back in the car.” I didn’t put two and two together.
I'm living on borrowed time. We thought the world was going to be over by 1975. Whatever I do, it doesn’t matter. I'm laughing and I’m like, “This shit is a joke.” This shit isn’t a joke. My boy did five years behind that. I think God intervened. Something intervened because I got no time. I didn't tell anybody. They were like, “He was the driver.” That was a shocking time in my life. It didn't register that I got a pass. I continued on.
One night, I was a part of a sting operation. They caught me with a little less than an ounce and a bunch of other stuff. I got 8 years on a shelf, 5 years probation, and I had to serve 90 days and they're like, “If we catch you doing anything else, all these years are coming off the shelf and you're going to the penitentiary.” That still didn't stop me. I thought I was invincible. I got in a fight with some officers in Atlanta. I assaulted one of the officers. I was going to prison.
At the time, my attorney was Fred Tokars. There's another story of Fred Tokars. In Atlanta, people knew that he was deep in the game. I packed all my stuff up. My brother packed everything up. He's like, “You need to learn from your lessons. Here you go.” I went to court thinking I was going to be on my way out. They came back and said, “There’s a plea deal on the table for you.” I’m like, “I never heard of it.” The deal was one-year probation. I had four felonies.
Someone's looking out for you on the way here because that's pretty insane.
They did all the pre-probation work. I called my brother, “I got probation.” He was like, “What?” He already packed my stuff up to go. I went to the train station and he picked me up and he said, “You can't stay here anymore.” My life continued spiraling from one spot to another. From Cincinnati to Dayton, Ohio, to Atlanta, back to Cincinnati, back to Atlanta, back to Cincinnati. I did that probably about 5 or 6 times and then out to Atlanta to California. I'm thinking that something isn’t right.
As I reflect on my story, at thirteen, I found alcohol. At sixteen, me and alcohol had a pretty good relationship. From 16 to about 48, it was me, liquor, cocaine, and sex, anything to keep me from looking at the real problem. At the same time, I'm training. I'm still working out. It's important that I look good to people. I wanted people not to know that I was selling. I'm also getting high on my own supply. Biggies’ rule number one, take the ten crack commandments.
Thomas, what was the turning point for you? What made you snap out of the funk and change your life?
There were several points where I'd take two steps forward and a step back. At one point, I was in Atlanta, I heard a message from Zig Ziglar because I was selling copiers at this place in Atlanta. I felt I could do something. I'm a salesman. I knew I could sell because, as a Jehovah's Witness, I'm knocking on doors and selling magazines. I knew I could talk to people, so I got good at sales. I heard Zig Ziglar and then I was introduced to Tony Robbins. I began to think that there might be something better for me. By that time, I had been so locked on drugs and alcohol that, in my mind, I didn't think I deserved anything better in life. Two steps forward, two steps back. In Atlanta, it was dark. I don't have money for those treatments, but someone said, “Why don’t you go to AA? Look them up.” I looked them up after a three-day binge. Someone picked me up and took me to a meeting. I didn't see any Black people there, so I said, “This can't be for me. There are no Black people here. Let me out of here. Maybe I need to change of pace.”
I'm out to California and met some cats in Atlanta. This was when my copier days were coming to a close. They came from Cali. They’re like, “Can you help us with some things?” I'm like, “Yeah, that's what I do.” I helped them with some things and I thought I was good at the things which I did. They said, “Why don’t you come out to LA and kick it and work with us?” I had a seven-year-old son at the time and I wanted to do something better for him. These cats had a film that they put out there. It had an anti-gang banging message. I did some good work with this video in terms of sales. They saw I did some other stuff on the street, but then I also knew how to do some corporate stuff. I can dance back and forth. I came out to LA and LA was cool. That's where I was introduced to some real bangers and thugs. Some cats with a bulletproof vest on and they were about that life for real. I kept feeling that something wasn't right. I'm not fitting in on this thug side because these thugs are real thugs. These guys got real stories.
On the corporate side, I had too many felonies. I wasn't going back there. What was left for me was alcohol and partying. I kept drinking alcohol and partying until these guys parted ways with me and I had nowhere to go. I continued little criminal activity here to keep the money going and not be homeless, not be in the streets. There came a time when somebody sent me a message in California, then I heard the message again about this AA deal. I'm like, “That's cool, but I'm still not ready for this. This still isn’t me. I'm not bad. I got this.”
You think you don't have a problem.
No. I thought I needed to make some money. Someone said, “Why don’t you go out for real estate and get your license?” I thought about it and I was like, “Yeah, I can do that.” I went out to get my real estate license and it took me a long time because I had to go back and share with the Department of State all my criminal transgressions and give reasons for those transgressions. It might take most people 30 to 60 days, but it took me a lot longer, 9 months to 1 year, because I had to get letters from the people, even the probation officers. I had to research and I had to dig through my life. Finally, they gave me my license and I started selling real estate. I thought I'd made it. I had an apartment and I bought a dog.
You’re doing well.
I’m doing well with my problems with alcohol and drugs. I didn't have the outbursts that I used to have. I got a white German Shepherd. I got a car. I got a couple of months’ rent in the bank. I got a nice little place. My broker thought I was doing well and then that's when he suggested, “You should buy a house. You need more bills.” I'm like, “Wow. Great idea."
I started looking for homes, apartments, and condos. He says, “You should buy my house.” That’s what most people would say. “This house has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. It had a big old pool and waterfall.” When I saw it, I was like, “People would think I have arrived. People will like me more. My mama would like me more. People would think highly of me if I can get this house and I could throw parties.” That was my thought. I took all the money I had. I leveraged a credit with other people and I got the house in Porter Ranch. I paid the note for $8,000 a month for about 3 or 4 months, and then cocaine. I got worse. I stopped paying the note. My dog, Ghost, was a lifesaver. Ghost used to chew on my arm when I was getting high.
He wakes you up a little bit.
I remember one day, I was in that house and I got this pile of cocaine in front of me. I felt like I was going to die. I had two choices, dial 911 or die. I'm like, “I got this plate of cocaine in front of me. I can't call 911. What are my neighbors going to think?” I got to the point where I couldn't see the numbers on the phone and I passed out. My dog licked me back to consciousness. He stayed with me. I woke up and I was still here. I looked over and the plate was still here. I did it.
I ended up trying to design a suicide helmet. I’m like, “That's enough of this shit.” I was going to take some Kevlar. I found a Kevlar at an army surplus store. I wanted to wrap Kevlar around a football helmet and I wanted to put a gun in my mouth. I wanted to die because all my attempts with cocaine was to die. My challenge was getting a gun and none of my friends would help me with a gun. They might have seen something in me.
They knew it.
“You don’t need a gun. You're in a gated community. What are you talking about?” He says, “If you need a gun, call the people who got all the guns. Call the police if you have a problem.” I wasn't ready to drive down Watson and get a gun. I had all these reasons why I didn't want to take that final step, which now I'm glad I didn't. I lost the house and I lost all that. I ended up homeless in LA, sleeping on couches. I still had my car and all my stuff was in my car. I said, “Going back to Atlanta might be good for me. Maybe I should go back to Atlanta,” is what I told myself. This is June 10th.
January 1st, New Year's Eve, I’ve gotten another apartment by some scams I did and I woke up from liquid MDMA. It's what they call it. I was butt naked on the carpet with this on my face. I’m like, “Fuck. This isn’t good.” I sold everything I had and asked my son's mother if I could come back home, hang out, and spend some time. She said yes. I went home and she put me out in two weeks. I drank a bottle of liquor. Here I am, I'm faced with, “Thomas, now you're going to be homeless in Atlanta.” This is the guy I met at the beach that day.
You were talking to this guy.
I have nowhere to turn. I don't have a penny to my name. The job I thought I had, I wasn’t making money. They weren't paying. I called my boy, and I said, “I have no place to go. I can go to this homeless shelter or I can go to this halfway house, but they want $175 to get in and I need your help.” His brother said, “I got you.” He sent me what I needed. I'm moving to his halfway house and there were six pads and a three-bedroom, two men in a room.
One of the things they said I had to do while I was there is that I had to go to these AA meetings and I'm like, “Get the fuck out of here. I got to go where? Come on.” “You got to have a report card signed.” I'm like, “This is crazy. Let's do it.” They told me one day in the meeting, “If you don't think you’re an alcoholic, go over to the bar and do some controlled drinking.” I'm like, “What?” There was a bar between my home and the meeting. Every day, when I went by it, I'd stop and I’d start off with a beer, then it went to two beers.
It ended up not being controlled.
I went to a pitcher of beer and then I went to a beer and a shot of Crown Royal, then I'm looking for cocaine. I knew, “I'm on my way.” I went in and I didn't tell them I was ready. They said something like, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path and our readings.” One day, I'm going to hurt them and I'm like, “I need a path. I never had a path to follow.” There was no path ever. I’m like, “If you go this way, Thomas, this will happen for you. Let me go this way.” Normally, I'd stand around the meetings. I'd be in the back of the meetings mad. I don't want anybody to talk to me. This time, after the meeting, I stayed. This Jamaican lady walked up to me and offered me a hug.
It’s amazing what those can do.
I started crying. I started sobbing. I thought I hit a wall. I thought I was so unlovable that I would shorten relationships before they found out that I was a piece of shit and left me. I would leave people before they had a chance to leave me. That was my modus operandi. When I finally let go of this, that was the turning point in my life. I realized, “I couldn't do this anymore.” There was something wrong and I needed help.
At this point, it didn't matter what color you were. I stopped looking at color and I stopped using color as a decision-maker or boundary. They said, “Thomas, you got to get a sponsor.” There was this white dude who offered to sponsor me. Without hesitation, I said, “Let's go. What do you want me to do?” He said, “I need you to read this book. I need you to show up at these meetings. We got to meet once a week.” I said, “Can we meet twice a week?” He said, “Yeah.”
I did everything he wanted me to do. He said, “I want you to meet new people and I want you to get their number. I want you to call these people. Don't tell them how yucky your life is. Ask how their life is.” This is some radical thinking. I started getting people's numbers and I started calling people. I didn't like smokers. Smoking kept me from the meetings because I'm an athlete. This is what I told myself. “I'm athletic. I'm strong. I look down on you because I'm built. I don't smoke and you do. You're nasty.” I had to get rid of that because smoking is all in the meeting.
It was your judgment.
I learned that by pre-judging others, it was denying me an opportunity to live a full life. I said, “I'm going to start cleaning up after cigarette smokers. I'm going to start sweeping up their butts and cleaning out the ashtrays.” I did that in our AA meeting, parking lots, and everything. I started looking at life from a service point of view. “How can I be of service?” I was 48 years old and I had nothing. It’s time for me to give back. Whatever happens after that, happens after that. That's how it started for me.
My house manager taught me how to go to places, get coffee and donations, and give them and share them with people who had less, which were at the meetings at the time. I learned that. I used to pick up donuts and pastries from stores and Starbucks. I used to take them to the meetings. I began to be a part of life. I didn't have a relationship for eighteen months. I'm like, “There's no need for a relationship.”
You had a difficult time taking care of yourself. If you had another person with that, that's a lot.
I look at my relationship with me as getting into a hot air balloon and the hot air balloon is defective. Only I know it’s effective. “Come on. Get in this hot air balloon with me and let's go.” We’re both going to crash, so enough of that.
Thomas, you said you went to Thailand for a while.
I went to Bali. After eighteen months of celibacy and service to others, I felt it was time to leave America because I've been feeling the racism in Atlanta. I'm looking at things with that racist lens.
You wanted to start over, a fresh start.
It's time to go. I want to find something different. I studied fitness at NASM, National Academy of Sports Medicine. My body had changed. I changed other's bodies. I was probably down to sub 10% body fat. My life wasn't about my body. My life was about service. I started looking to where I could go. I got a one-way ticket to Singapore. I found out AA was there and it was strong and vibrating.
Did you know where you were going to live when you got there?
I had a homie with who I used to do drugs. He says when I come out, I can stay there, but I said, “I'm not that same dude.” He's like, “Come stay here anyway,” and I did. Singapore was an amazing experience. The expats, the fellowship. I went to hospitals. I visited places and helped others who had addiction challenges. I had people who walked up to me asking me to train them.
Some wonderful things were happening to me, but I still kept feeling the racism. I didn't know that Chinese and Singaporeans did not like Malaysians or Nigerians. Plus, they looked at me based on what they read in the news and what they saw in videos. I was this scary Black guy and I got a lot of that. I'm like, “Enough of this.”
My lesson there was that wherever you go, there’s going to be a problem. There's going to be a challenge if you let it be a challenge. I knew that, at that time, my problem with racism was inside of me because I kept seeing that as opposed to looking past that. I moved to Bali next. Bali is where I had the most incredible experience in my life. I met some Balinese people that loved me. They loved my skin color. They're loving people. I was there for 3.5 years. I was in this cocoon of love. People were doing offerings 3 to 5 times a day.
I'm visiting the hospitals and I'm being of service. I'm going to the schools talking to children about my fitness because a lot of kids are obese. They gave them McDonald's and Pizza Hut. There were so many wonderful things happening. At that time, I didn't have a lot of money, but I wanted to train people. I'm looking at Bali and I'm seeing all this beauty on the beach. I'm like, “How can I train as many people as possible here on this beach?” I want to give.
I knew I could draw. My mama taught me how to sew at a young age. When everybody else was playing football and sports, my mama taught me how to sew. I knew how to sew. I drew up some ideas about how I want this bag to look. I asked my pembantu to help me with sewing fabric and thread. I got scissors, cut up, made this little pattern, and I started sewing shit together. It got to the point where it was too thick to go through the material. I found some umbrella makers who took what I did to the next level. I found some pillow makers who took it to the next level. I found this guy who makes covers for surfboards and he took it to a whole other level.
It kept evolving and evolving.
Iteration upon iteration. I got groups of people on a beach and I'm training people. I organized a book drive with the help of some mother expats. We got almost 2,000 English books for children that we raised through me giving away my training for free. It's amazing. Now I’m giving back. It's the best drug ever.
When it came time, my brother had finally committed suicide. He was raped in the Kingdom Hall at a young age and no one ever shared it with us. He was battling his demons and he finally was successful. I knew it was time to go home. The bag was doing well. My spirit was fed and it was time to come back to the States. I came back home after 3.5 years. I thought people were going to be like, “Thomas's back.” None of that happened.
I didn't want to come back to LA. I picked up my father and that's something that happened for me. Our relationship got a lot better. We road tripped to Cincinnati and saw my brother's gravesite. At that time, I sent out some ideas to manufacturers about doing my bag and the only one that answered was in California. I didn't want to come back to California. I'd ruined so many lives, but fate brought me back.
Back in California, I had one friend who gave me an old car. He said, “Use this to get around.” I started picking up clients because I was still quite ripped. I thought, “If I keep doing this, take this money and put it in this bag, someone's going to see it. I'm going to explode, and I'll sell thousands of bags.” That didn't happen. I ended up sleeping in my car. For the next 2.5 years, it was me and my car.
That's such a long time to be homeless and sleep in a car like that.
After a while, I almost felt like that was where I belonged. I’m like, “This is your ceiling.” I made enough money to get a membership at this prestigious gym. I used to go there and shower all the time and clean myself up. Someone introduced me to this group of men called METAL, Media, Entertainment, Technology, and Arts Leaders. These men took me in. They liked what I did because I started serving homeless people while I was out there.
I built up a reputation because I learned how to go to Gelson's Markets and Starbucks. I got that whole donation thing going again. I used to pick up donations from these places and then give coffee and stuff to homeless people behind Gold's Gym, and then over by Manchester, over by the airport, and then down by San Pedro. I started being of service again. Even though I was homeless, I kept doing that.
The brothers who saw me do this were inspired. Erik Oberholtzer, the CEO of Tender Greens, came in. On special occasions, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, he started making dinner and breakfast for homeless people. We had a group of sometimes 10 to 15 people out here working. That became my identity. I stopped doing that because I felt like I wasn't doing it out of my heart. I was doing it because people recognized me and I began to be known as the guy who works with homeless people when I was so much more than that.
A couple took it over. It's a thriving nonprofit deal. Pamela and Joe Connelly, bless their hearts, are doing an amazing thing down in Santa Monica and Venice with this nonprofit based upon all the work we've done together. I'm still homeless. A friend of mine saw the work that I was doing and he invited me to his house for about 5 or 6 months. He said, “You got to go.” I'm back out in the streets again. My bag iteration is looking great. It's a beautiful bag. By this time, it went from canvas material to nylon. There's 1,600 strong ballistic nylon and people are using it, but I never got back into life until I met this girl at this grocery store. You met her earlier.
We started talking. I didn't want to engage her because I was homeless. Nobody wants to fuck with a homeless dude. We talked a lot on the phone. Finally, I told her what was happening and she said, “That's cool.” We went on a date. We saw Black Panther. A few months later, she says, “Why don’t you come out off the streets. It’s getting cold outside. Why don’t you think about maybe coming and staying with me?” I thought about it. She said, “Maybe you can go to school.” I did it.
I enrolled at Santa Monica College. I've always wanted to study in college. I used to sell cocaine in college. This time, I enrolled and I studied graphic design, design research, HTML coding. I took some fitness classes and UX design. I studied how to be better at what I want to do with the world and touch art again. I took vocal lessons because I knew I could sing. Maybe I need to learn how to sing.
I studied all these things and I got better at all of that. I sing opera. I tried out for The Voice. She heard me. I didn't make the cut, but I went for it. I was starting to go for things in my life. I'm feeling good about where I'm at. I'm living a better life. I know it's through service and that Godly devotion to others has made a difference in helping me see who I am.
There's something to be said about divine timing, circumstances, and people hopping into your life. There have been several occasions in your own life that’s borrowed time. You almost shouldn't be here. Something was working in the atmosphere that got you here on several occasions. You’re going to do big things. You already are.
I'm excited and looking forward to it. I was invited to this place in Cabo back in August 2021 to this group called Get Leverage by Nicholas Sonnenberg. They asked me to train all the participants in this mastermind group and I did. During the meeting, they asked me to get on the hot seat to share my experience because they want to see how they could help me 10X my life.
This is the first time you shared your story. You're probably putting pieces together of your story that you haven't even heard before in a long time.
They asked me 30 minutes or maybe 1 hour before. They’re like, “I want you to share your story.” I'm like, “What the fuck? What do you mean?” They’re like, “It’s public speaking.” I shared. I started up with an opera song. Did you see the link?
You sent me a bunch of links before the show started. I didn't get a chance to look at them yet.
It’s me singing opera in my first public talk.
No, I didn't see that. What a way to start it off, though.
I got into my story and there were some influential people there. After that, they introduced me to other influential people. I'm working with this guy named Andre Norman. He works with prisons and helps people change from circumstances they thought were insurmountable. I'm working with him and a few other individuals. I'm pivoting to public speaking. I want to share not just the story, but I want to share the lessons I've learned. I'm sharing it with you. This is the second time I've shared like this, but this is even longer.
You laid all the cards out on the table for this story. I love it when people do that. I love the nitty-gritty facts of the lowest lows and the highest of highs. You’ve got a great presence. You're a natural speaker. You got a great story. It's only up from here. I hope you get the platforms you deserve to start sharing your story because it's a powerful one. There are many people struggling with addiction and many people think it's too late, “This is it for me.” It’s like what you’ve said before, you thought that was your ceiling. When I hear a story like yours, it’s like, “Damn. It's never too late. You can always change your life around.” How old were you when you started turning around?
It was June 10th, 2010 was when I got sober. I was 48 when I got sober.
I have friends that are 28, 29, and 30 that are like, “Maybe this is it. I'm done.” Life is getting started for you.
For them, too, though.
It’s your perspective on how you look at your own life.
I want to talk to people who are 28 and think it is too late and people who are hit 50 thinking that this is all that life has to offer them. It isn’t. You're living. If I can offer anyone any advice or if I could share anything, the greatest thing that I learned through this struggle was number one, take an inventory. I had to take an inventory of me, my assets, my liabilities, what I was good at, and what was killing me. The stuff that was killing me, I had to face that. The second thing I would share with anyone that I learned on my journey is you’ve got to go inside.
Many of us do so many things to stop looking inside. It’s like the Boogeyman is inside. Once you go inside, you’ll learn that whatever is in there, it isn’t the Boogeyman. That's what I grew from. The third thing I would always share is that you’ve got to get out of your current geographic location. You’ve got to travel.
There's so much life out there. If we're sitting in this box, that's all that life is going to appear. What's in this box? When I got out, I got to see that life was different. The last thing I'd say is to get some people around you. I wanted no one around me because I felt like I stank. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. When I did that, I began to seek others who were living amazing lives and they became our friends.
I got a mentor, Ramon Newman, who was a monk for thirteen years. He brought peace into my life. He brought back the understanding that everything that I need is already in me and that I can be anything that I want as long as I align powerfully with the universe because the universe is who I am. To align myself with better people, people who thought bigger than me, gives me an opportunity to grow. Those four things for me are life-changing and I practice them now.
Thomas, where can people find your bag, find you on social media to keep track of your story and all the great work you're doing?
My website is T3PowerReady. My mom used to say, “If you stay ready, you don’t need to get ready.” The whole premise of stay ready and get ready is where the bag is. My workouts, how I train are on YouTube. That’s still T3PowerReady. My Instagram Dr. Pecca for President. Dr. Pecca is a beast. He and his girl are great people.
That was a crazy time to meet you on the beach like that. It was also awesome to meet your partner before the show started. She seems like such a beautiful person on the inside out. I hope people read this from start to finish because everything you went through was wild and it's crazy. Everybody's got to start somewhere. Some people start at the base or in the middle of the mountain. You started down there. You climbed your way out.
I'm lifted by people like you who take the time. You guys took the time to say hello back on the beach. That's one thing we don't do. We don't say hello to each other. We see each other, people put their heads down, and keep going. You two said hello and we started talking. It’s real shit.
It's crazy, too, because stories like yours are my favorite. That's why this show exists. I love hearing how people got from A to B and faced adversity and came out the other side.
I'm still climbing. Life isn’t over yet.
They say the climb is the best part. Thomas, where do you want your bag going? No way. This is what I want to do. I would love to have you back on the show any time to see what's going on and all the great things you have to talk about in the near future.
Thank you. My request is, whoever's reading, please go to my YouTube channel and subscribe. There’s content there. I'm going to teach people how I got to where I'm at in terms of physical fitness, meditating, and growth. My speeches are there. I need you to check out that speech. Check out my link. Check out the T3 PowerReady bag. I will teach you how to use it. It goes up to 110 pounds. Anything you do in the gym, you can do outside. My whole calling on this earth is the gym. We'd get outside and let's enjoy this earth while it's here. I love gyms. I love heavy weights.
There’s something about working out outside though that's a game-changer.
You already know. I took a lot of your time. You gave me a lot of time.
I took a lot of your time in the beginning with this platform here. Thank you so much for coming on the show, laying all the cards out on the table, and sharing your story. I would love to have you back on anytime.
Thank you. I appreciate you. You guys have a great day. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate you.
- T3 Power Ready
- Tender Greens
- Get Leverage
- Andre Norman
- Ramon Newman
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join Expect Miracles community today: