Oliver James is turning the page on a new chapter in his life and inspiring others after learning to read at the age of 35.
James began receiving support from thousands of strangers after sharing his story on TikTok and letting everyone know it’s never too late to start anything.
“Hey, what’s up! I can’t read but that’s OK because we are on a journey to fix that,” said James in a video posted on TikTok.
The father of two said he struggled with ADHD, making school difficult for him. James was still able to finish his education, graduating high school despite not knowing how to read.
“Looking at it now, I can say it honestly, no one wanted to take the blame. Then they pass you to the next grade,” said James.
The real test for James would come outside of the classroom, as his inability to read began taking him down the wrong path. James served five years in prison for gun trafficking. When he was released, he knew that the only way out of isolation and into a new life was through a different path.
James made the move to Orange County with his longtime partner, Anne, who encouraged him to begin posting his story. It was there that many got inspired by James’ vulnerability, increasing his follower account on TikTok from 400 followers to 85,000.
His account @OLIVERSPEAKS1 on TikTok now has over 300,000 followers and he spends most of his time speaking about his mission, which he believes is inspiring others.
“It made me feel like I was put in this position to do exactly what I was supposed to do,” said James. “The dude that needs to talk about his struggles in reading and what’s going on. I felt like ok this is my mission then.”
Source: NBC Los Angeles