Ben Graham (left) and John Tapley. Contributed by John Tapley

Inspire Atlanta | Readers React: Store owner who was once homeless inspires others

Readers were touched by our story of Benjamin Graham — the man who had once lived under a bridge as he struggled with depression and a 17-year drug addiction.

As you might remember from our story on Sept. 29, Graham mustered the strength to bounce back. He agreed to seek treatment for his addiction and mental problems and tried to revive an entrepreneurial spirit he first displayed when he was a little boy.

>> RELATED: Once homeless, Atlantan owns convenience store

Today, Graham is the proud owner of Bigmouthben Stores, a convenience store along Atlanta’s Auburn Avenue where he sells souvenirs, sodas and sundries.

But Graham’s store is about so much more. The homeless can grab a free soda and snack, as well as something off a rack of donated clothes.

John Tapley, a reader who lives in Marietta, was so moved by Graham’s story he visited the store – just hours after reading about it in our new Inspire Atlanta section.

“… he was there, and his wife Tanya,” Tapley wrote, “what a thrill it was to meet them both.”

“We talked and got to know each other a little, will stay connected and continue to follow his story. What a true inspiration he is, so wonderful to see this. The world is in better shape because of Ben. Thank you for bringing this story to us.”

Acworth reader Cinn Potts wrote: “So, so inspiring. I gave the article for my adult son to read in hopes of inspiring him. I am hoping [he] will take this article to heart and know that there is hope.

“Good for Mr. Graham that he has become a successful citizen … by giving back to the community. He has earned every bit of his success! Thank you for that great story. What an inspiration!”

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