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Real Chris Gardner in Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness explains how missing one flight saved his life

Niamh Spence

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| Last updated 

Real Chris Gardner in Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happyness explains how missing one flight saved his life

The real life inspiration behind Will Smith's character in the film The Pursuit of Happyness has revealed how missing a flight saved his life over twenty years ago.

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Chris Gardner, who owns the @ceoofhappyness account on Instagram, revealed to his 216,000 followers how he missed a plane headed to New York but that mistake saved his life.

He captioned the video: "How missing a flight SAVED and CHANGED my life and the lives of millions of others. September 10, 2001 I was to board a flight to New York.

"I’d been making this ‘commute’ for SEVEN years. Living in Chicago and working in New York. SEVEN YEARS and never missed the flight. But this ONE time I did.

"The first appointment on my schedule the following Tuesday morning was at the WORLD TRADE CENTER in New York City, 9:00 am EST, South Tower."

Will Smith plays Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness film released in 2006. Credit: Sony
Will Smith plays Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness film released in 2006. Credit: Sony

He added: "If I had NOT missed that flight, we would have never met. I would’ve never met my grandchild. I would have never seen my child graduate from college, I would have not been there for the love of my life as she battled brain cancer.

"I have ‘survivor's gratitude'."

He also revealed that what changed his life was not material goods, concluding: "Please note that I did NOT mention, movies, books, toys, or THINGS!"

Fans and followers have been quick to share their gratitude at missing his flight, and being able to share his unique story. One wrote: "Wow! & I was discussing your story - Pursuit of Happyness - with family this past weekend.. grateful you’re still with us to tell and continue living it."

Another added: "Wow I never knew this. I’m so happy that you missed that flight on that day."

"Amazing. 'You can make money, you can lose money but you can’t make time.' Thank you for sharing your story," added a third.

Chris Gardner's autobiography in 2006 inspired the film depicting his struggles and rise in business. Credit: Instagram/@ceoofhappyness
Chris Gardner's autobiography in 2006 inspired the film depicting his struggles and rise in business. Credit: Instagram/@ceoofhappyness

Chris Gardner is the inspiration for the 2006 movie The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith.

Smith plays Gardner as he struggles to make a success of his business and his one-year struggle with homelessness.

Based on Gardner's autobiography published in 2006, the film portrayed Gardner's struggle for business success and trying to parent his young son against the backdrop of San Francisco in 1981.

The movie grossed $163 million domestically at the box office and over $300 million worldwide and earned Will Smith an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor. 

Featured Image Credit: Sony/ceoofhappyness/Instagram

Topics: TV and Film, Will Smith, US News

Niamh Spence
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