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Personal Hardship, Inspiration Leads to Action
Mike Coonrod, sbjLive producer

Personal Hardship, Inspiration Leads to Action

Posted online

Hal Donaldson, CEO of Convoy of Hope, learned about living in poverty starting at the age of twelve following the death of his father. The kindness he experienced as a child along with an interview with Mother Teresa in which she challenged the young reporter to do the next kind thing, inspired him to buy one truckload of groceries that eventually led to fleets of semi trucks spanning continents. Donaldson recently released his thirtieth book, Disruptive Compassion. This is sponsored content.

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Video transcription:

- When I was 12, my father was hit and killed by a drunk driver and our family was forced to survive on welfare because my dad didn't have insurance. My mother was in the car. She had many internal injuries and broken bones and so it took many months for her to recover.

And there was another family that took us in, allowed us to live with them after the accident. As a 12 year old boy I struggled because I just couldn't understand how now we were sentenced to a life of poverty and meanwhile, the man who hit my father, walked out of jail 48 hours later. And there was no consequence, it didn't seem just to me. But the people we were living with, all they had was a single wide trailer. They were very kind people though.

They wrapped their arms around us and one day, the father, Bill Davis, who we were living with, he saw that I was really hurting. And he came and he threw his arms around my shoulder and he just said, "Hey Hal, listen to me, 'don't allow the tragedy of your youth to become a lifelong excuse because where you start in life doesn't have to dictate where you end.'"

And those words were really empowering to me. During those times, I also experienced the power of kindness because so many people in our community would come and they would give us groceries. When you're poor, your goal in life becomes, your quest becomes not to live in poverty.

And so, I went and got my degree in journalism. And I began writing books in my twenties. I received a book assignment that took me to Kolkata, India and when I arrived my host said, "There's someone we want you to interview." And they took me to meet Mother Teresa. And in the course of that interview, Mother Teresa asked me, she said, "Young man, what are you doing to help the poor and the suffering?" And I figured I better not lie to her, right? I told her the truth, I said, "I'm really not doing much of anything." And she said, "Well, everyone can do something. Just do the next kind thing in front of you." And that really haunted me.

I came back to the states and loaded up a pickup truck with groceries, $300 worth of groceries. Went out and started passing them out to working poor families. And that was the start of Convoy of Hope 25 years ago.

That pickup truck became a box truck and then eventually became a semi-truck and then a fleet of semi-trucks. From not having a warehouse to then having multiple warehouses. It's just been an amazing 25 years of growth.

I thought well, what would it look like if I wrote a book on how to move your life from a burden or a desire to do something, to really doing something, and be very transparent with the mistakes I've made along the way, the discouraging times, the hard times, give people a playbook for how to make their life count.

And so, that's really, that was the beginning stages of the book. It's called, Disruptive Compassion: Becoming The Revolutionary You Were Born To Be. And it talks about how do we disrupt our lives, our everyday lives in such a way that it changes us but also changes the status quo and it changes the people around us.

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