Rockingham County, NC -- What happens when something bad, leads you to the right place at the right time? If you're Thurman Smith of Reidsville, you take the opportunity and run as far as you can and start a business.
Smith knew he always wanted to work with cars.
"I was determined," about his dream of becoming a business man.
But in 2007, he was stuck in a low paying job with two kids at home.
"It was just hard to make a living," he said.
On one extremely hot and humid Carolina summer day, he was on his way for the first day of a class at Rockingham Community College.
"I was actually driving down the road and my car broke down," Smith recalled.
Hot, tired, lost and with no car, Smith started walking.
"It was like a mile, a mile and a half," he said, in the wrong direction.
"A gentleman walked through the doors, sweaty, in some work clothes looking for a class at Rockingham Community College," said Mark Wells, director at the Rockingham County Business and Technology Center (RCBTC).
Smith never made it to his class at RCC. Instead, the walk led him to Wells.
"This gentleman was having a bad day!" the center director said.
On a whim, he decided to give Smith a ride home.
"The opportunity to help those in need is always there. And if we take those opportunities you never know what you might uncover," Wells said introspectively. "I believe God made him go the wrong way that day."
What he uncovered was Smith's passion to open an auto-repair business. RCBTC had mentors just for that and Wells made it happen.
"They gave me some guidance on some stuff that I needed to do," said Smith.
A year later a man once down on his luck opened the business he once dreamed of.
He now employs five people.
Smith says he still can't believe how what seemed like misfortune, has turned his entire life around.
"From this story, he provided hope, hope to those who might have the potential or the idea of starting a business," Smith said.
If you are interested in starting a small business, here are some resources to consider.
Small Business Resources: