[Book] No Free Lunch: One Man’s Journey from Welfare to the American Dream by Rodney Carroll

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No Free Lunch is an inspirational memoir by Rodney Carroll that paints a perfect picture of the American Dream. A young African American boy, born into a bad area to an unstable single mother who could have had every reason to make all the wrong choices in life. But instead, he wanted to be different. He wanted to be someone. And he was willing to do whatever it took to change his living situation so that he could ultimately change his life forever.

Rodney was a young, hard-working boy who finally found his golden opportunity as a truck loader for UPS. Some people would find that laughable. Not Rodney. He knew that getting in was his chance to succeed. By working smarter and harder than everyone else, because he had more to prove than they did–and because he wanted to fulfill a dream–meant that eventually he’d have to move to the next level. Rodney continued with this work ethic throughout various positions, growing more and more disciplined, always seeking ways to learn new skills and help others. He was a great worker and a great person, the model employee.

Along with his desire to succeed personally, he also felt obligated to lead others like him who, thorugh no fault of their own, faced many daily struggles most people wouldn’t even understand. He wanted to prove to them that they could better their lives as well. He was even willing to risk his own job within the company he had dedicated so much time and service to in order to implement a welface to work program that would eventually be adopted all across America.

Rodney showed that these types of people weren’t to be looked down upon. Rather, they were hard workers who just wanted to make something better of their lives. Knowing they had his faith fueled their desire to do a great job even more, ultimately for the benefit of the company.

I don’t want to give away the ending, but this was one of the most inspirational journeys I’ve learned about. I actually came across this book by mistake but started reading it anyway. It was hard to put down.
Rodney Carroll’s desire to better himself, his life, and the comminity around him was a perfect example of the American Dream. Sometimes all a person needs is one single opportunity. Rodney said, “Everyone who is successful, regardless of age, race, or ethnicity, at some point in their lives received an opportunity. Someone believed in them enough to give them a chance.”

I highly recommend this book. The only disappointment was that after reading it, I had a hard time coming across any follow-up information on Rodney. Other than a few books for sale online, there isn’t much out there. I would have liked to read an update about what he’s doing now. If you come across anything, please pass it my way!



Our visit to Santa Cruz Boardwalk