Just keep working hard - Former 'bad boy' advises youth
After losing his mother at age five, Andrew Armstrong turned to his father to get the love and tender care.
The two were inseparable, and Armstrong thought that things were okay, even though they were not financially stable.
"Me and me fada had a really good relationship. We were really close," he said.
After attending Norman Manley High School for five years, he was unable to finish his studies because his father was unable to pay for his subjects.
Not wanting to stay home, the teenage Armstong decided to help his father, who bought and sold appliances for a living.
Life was not pretty, however, by helping his father, they were able to make ends meet at home.
But Armstrong's life was shattered again shortly after he turned 20, when his father was stabbed to death. He said that things went from bad to worse.
"I had to be doing every little thing to get some money. At one point in time, I even went to Montego Bay to work," he said.
Now a misguided orphan, Armstrong found himself in dangerous situations that almost cost him his life.
"When I was living in Waterhouse, I used to hang out with some people and one day police were looking for me and me haffi run, and dem shot after me and me get shot inna me hand. That is when I knew that I had to change what I was doing," he said, clarifying he was never wanted for any crime.
He moved from Waterhouse to Mountain View after the incident and decided to change his life.
"I realised that type of life was not worth it and I needed a change. It was not easy, I had to take jobs that paid $1,300 a day. There were times when I only worked two times for the week. But I had a determination that I must become something," he said.
Armstrong said his life changed drastically when he went to live in Mountain View, and the birth of his daughter gave him a purpose in life.
"My daughter brings a new life in me because at one point in time, I was saying that I had nothing to live for. But now I have someone that looks up to me. She brings so much joy to my life, me cya even explain," he said.
Armstrong, who now works for a security company, said that he would like to encourage young men who feel like he did, that hard work always pays off.
"Mek me tell yuh supm, me see first hand how gangster life is. It either end when yuh dead or inna prison. To how me see it, hard work is the best way out. It may not always be easy, but if you want good yuh affi do the work," he said.
"I just want people to know that they can do it. No matter what people say, once you put in the work, you will see the result," he added.
Armstrong, now 27, says he is looking forward to better and has been saving money to attend classes to finish his high school education and do further studies.