ScooterScooter found the love and compassion he needed to transform his life at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
“My life was out of control, and I didn’t want to live anymore.”
One of Scooter’s earliest memories is of being abandoned. “My parents were never around. I had a dad that was there for my birthday and Christmas, and then the rest of the year he was gone. I just didn't understand that.”
To cope with his feelings of rejection, Scooter started drinking alcohol and using drugs when he was 12. “That's how I overcame my loneliness. I can remember drugs and alcohol always played a big part in my life.”
As a teenager, Scooter also found other ways to get the love and acceptance that was missing at home. He was a natural athlete and became a world-class bike racer. After each victory, and there were many of them, he’d celebrate with alcohol and drugs.
Later in his racing career, Scooter suffered from a lot of pain caused by countless bike accidents. “I would take Oxycontin, and when that ran out, I’d use heroin. Then, one time, I didn't have any Oxycontin so I went straight to heroin. I was supposed to be in Phoenix for a big race that week and I never even showed up. I had already started selling my stuff for drug money.”
It wasn’t long before heroin took over Scooter’s life. “I had a sponsor, a car, bikes, everything I wanted. In just a few weeks I lost everything I loved. I went from racing bicycles to living in a bicycle box.”
For 13 years, Scooter roamed the streets, sleeping under a tarp when storms rolled through. He couldn’t hold down a full-time job, but with the help the staff and students at a nearby university, he learned how to build websites. Soon he was making good money, but he spent all of it on his addictions.
“My life was a mess. I tell people now that it felt like I was on death row. I was ready to commit suicide when I got a text from a friend at the Mission. All it said was, ‘I love you brother.’ And I'll never forget that. I didn't hear that very often, and that turned me around. Those words can change people.”
That text, and those four simple words, saved Scooter’s life.
Today, Scooter is a health and fitness coach at the Mission. Each day, he guides men and women toward a healthy lifestyle through running, climbing and improving their fitness. “I show them what they’re capable of doing and it gives giving them new hope in life.”
Even better, Scooter has become reconnected with some of the family he lost at such a young age. “My brother and I were separated when he was four and I was two. He didn't even know I existed until just a few years ago, and now we talk nearly every week. Another half brother and sister, we're together. We were separated for all those years and now it’s like that didn't happen. That's called God.”
Scooter adds, “I’m living the dream. Things haven't been any better in my whole life.”
“The Mission helped me find the right direction to go, and that’s with Jesus. They helped me see God’s plan for my life.”