For anti-celebrity Robert James Austin life hasn’t always been perfect. Before he became a “miracle man” he overcame a traumatic childhood, and in this week’s 60-second read we not only get a glimpse into that childhood, we also see him begin to come to into himself as he accepts a new home: Harvard University.


Struggling to breathe in the stifling darkness of the garbage bag, a paralyzing sense of helplessness overwhelmed the infant. As the putrid odor of decay in the dumpster permeated the air, Bobby was jostled by the bloated bodies of scurrying rats slamming against the garbage bag in their frenetic search for an entrance point. He felt the wind and rain pelt and pull at the bag and threaten to dislodge it from its perilous perch, toppling him into the vermin ridden dumpster. Completely alone, he screamed.

Gasping for breath, his chest, face and hair drenched with sweat, his hands trembling, Bobby awakened from his night terror. Feeling like he was burning up with fever, he dragged himself into the bathroom, pulled off his clothing and lay naked on the cold bathroom floor, sweating and shivering simultaneously. Afraid he was going to pass out, he grasped the toilet seat, pulled himself up to a wobbly standing position and guided himself back toward his bedroom vanity where he grabbed a bottle of Vodka and gulped down half of it, searing his throat.

He gave up trying to sleep any more that night. In the darkness, he made his way on the mass transit system to Harvard. His head buried in his hands, he sat on the steps of Massachusetts Hall for four hours waiting for it to open. Finally, when it did, Bobby walked down the long marble corridor feeling an odd combination of despair and optimism. He pumped himself up. They love me here. I’ve helped so many of the professors for so long. They won’t want me to go. They need me around. They’re not going to throw me out. I’m part of the family.


For more, you can purchase the book here.

Related: August 8: 60-second Read from Miracle Man