Orlando Bowen was on top of the world: a beautiful family, standing as a leader in society and a player in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
One night, it almost all went way:
As Bowen tells it, two undercover cops approached him for drugs. He was beaten to within what he thought was an inch of his life and then found himself wrongly accused of violence against them.
None of it was true:
As he fought for his freedom, he watched his football career disappear and his social standing plummet.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for him to watch his life go off the rails for something he hadn’t done?
He found the strength:
It must have been tempting to give up. But he didn’t. It took time but a judge threw out the charges, and Bowen made the decision to do something extremely meaningful with whatever time he had left on this earth.
He became even better:
Bowen became a motivational speaker, speaking particularly to youth and corporate audiences. He has become known as an expert on resilience and overcoming adversity, and he shares his story to inspire youth to take action in their lives, hope for a better future, build resilience and give back to someone or something in their community.
Not just for kids:
He also helps executives motivate themselves to break old patterns and develop a “Fourth Quarter” mindset to achieve goals and strive to maintain a peak performance attitude in their careers.
One Voice One Team:
He also started a group called One
Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization. Its school programs and camps help kids align themselves with values that will make them better people for life.
The power of forgiveness:
Orlando Bowen has won several great honours in the last few years, including a 2014 Harry Jerome Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award.
Here is how deserving of these awards the man is: he has forgiven the men who could have very easily cost him everything, including his life. That’s right. Forgiven them.
Bowen knows that without what transpired, he couldn’t have gotten to the life of full out service he has today.
And he wouldn’t change the life he has now for the one he had even if he could.