It all began with a 25-cent cup of coffee back in 1999 when Jim Bradford stopped into the Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits diner, like he had countless morning before. But this trip would change his life and the life of another special person forever.
After placing his coffee order, Jim spotted a young boy sitting alone out of the corner of his eye. It was clear to his boy wasn’t like others his age….
Upon further inspection, Jim determined that not only did HK suffer from some sort of physical condition, but the poor boy was also blind! Wondering why he was sitting by himself, Jim approached him and the two began to talk.
HK told Jim that he was not alone, but just waiting for his grandmother, Pearl, as she worked behind the cash register at the diner. Comforted by the fact that HK wasn’t abandoned, Jim proceeded to ask about his background and that’s when the young boy told a story that broke the elderly gentleman’s heart.
A sudden brain aneurism left HK with cerebral palsy, and it also caused his right limbs to be severely underdeveloped. His retinas were not fully developed at the time of his birth, which meant he would also be blind forever.
The complications of his medical conditions were too much for his father and he left when HK was only five years old. Ever since then, Grandma Pearl took care of HK, enrolled him in a school for the blind and made sure all of his medical appointments were in order! She did this all while trying to balance the job at the diner!
After hearing this, it was clear that fate brought Jim and HK together- and Jim was determined to help him as much as he could.
Over the years, the two bonded like father and son. They spent time watching his favorite football team, the Tennessee Titans, and enjoyed some down-home bluegrass music, talked for hours.
It was through their lengthy conversations that Jim realized his young friend had a special skill, one that less than 100 people in the world have. Jim discovered HK had the talent of hyperthymesia; he could remember every tiny detail about literally every event that’s ever happened to him!
That’s when an idea hit Jim – HK should share the story of his life, the good and the bad, with the world through his vivid memories! So, together the pair penned a book called “The Awakening of HK Derryberry.”
Just as they expected, everyone wanted to know the tale of the boy who remembers everything and the books flew off the shelves. Their unbelievable success told Jim and HK that they should take things one step further….
Jim and HK, now 73 and 26, travel the world together, sharing their story of love, fate and hope. They pray HK’s tale of perseverance can inspire others who are struggling to find their way!
Not only does HK have a fruitful writing career ahead of him, but now he has a father-figure, mentor and best friend to help him through all of life’s ups and downs. To think, it all began with a single cup of coffee!
See HK talk about overcoming adversity with love and comedy in this heartwarming video!
HK’s lesson is clear, sometimes all you need is a friend to steer you in the right direction. With a little support and guidance, just about anything in life is possible!