Busta’s Person of the Week: Abandoned at birth, now class president

Busta’s Person of the Week: Abandoned at birth, now class president
May 04
13:07 2022

By Busta Brown

Angel Thomas was abandoned at birth and left to die under a stairwell at an apartment complex in Greensboro. This coming month, Angel will be a proud college graduate.

But there’s so much more to this story, so let’s start from the beginning.

In 1999, according to Angel Thomas, she went through the unimaginable. “It was in November, on one of the coldest nights of the year. I was left under a stairwell by my biological father and his original plan was to kill me. My biological mother had no clue what had happened to me or where I was, because she went through so much,” shared Angel.

As I struggled to hold back my tears, the Gibsonville, North Carolina native remained cool and calm. Her demonstration of strength and resilience were remarkable. Angel was very relaxed, with the sweetest smile, and kept a warm and soft delivery as she continued. “A resident was walking out of her apartment to go to work and she heard the sound coming from under the stairs of her apartment. She looked under the stairwell and she said I was just lying there. Her son called me his angel.”

She was treated at the hospital for hyperthermia, released into the foster care system, and then was processed into the home of her now adopted parents. “My mom and dad said as soon as they got me into their home, they knew I would never leave,” said Angel.

The 22-year-old was raised in a loving home, with two amazing parents. But there were a few challenges along the way. “When I was four I was outside playing with my cousin. I’m not sure what happened, but I made her mad and she said, ‘You’re not my real cousin, you’re adopted.’ I ran into the house and asked my mom, what is adopted? She said, it means we didn’t have you, but we love you the same. My mom said I told her thank you for loving me and then went back outside to play.”

Angel was never ashamed of being adopted, but the verbal bullying during middle school became unbearable. “I was bullied every day about being adopted and tall. I had to go through therapy because of my depression of dealing with the emotions it caused,” said a cool and still calm Angel. It wasn’t the therapy that helped beat Angel’s depression and insecurities. It was her resilience. “I finally realized that I had to allow myself to be happy and get rid of the anger, resentment, and guilt. I learned how to love me and how to be me, without worrying about what others think of me, or where I came from,” shared Angel.

As I continued holding back my tears, at this point in our conversation she did as well. But it didn’t last. She lit up the room with her big beautiful smile, “I’m very happy with the woman I’ve become. My mom always told me that it’s not where you come from, but where you want to go. You have to want things for yourself,” said Angel.

She calls her mom three times a day. “She’s my best friend. She loved me through all of those years of trying to find myself.” 

After graduating from middle school, Angel’s mom had big plans for her future. “My mom said it’s this school in High Point called T. W. Andrews Aviation Academy, and I want you to be a pilot. We applied and I was accepted,” said Angel. But there was one big issue … She lived in Gibsonville. Yet, she has something that all successful people possess: Tenacity and rigor! “I would hop on the bus every morning from Gibsonville to High Point and back. It was an hour and a half bus ride every day, but that’s where I wanted to be. They had some amazing teachers at Andrews that truly cared about us.”

During high school, Angel began to soar and develop into a true leader, while participating in various youth and leadership development activities. In 2018, she won Miss Teen Greensboro and was the first runner-up in Miss Teen North Carolina. “I’ve never done a pageant before, so I was nervous. My mom would laugh at me because I would walk around in heels every single day because I’m so clumsy. Although I did it just for fun, I also wanted to do well.”

Her passion for being a pilot landed Angel at GTCC Aviation, and then Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she earned a degree in aeronautics and minors in business and occupational safety. Then Angel’s hopes of becoming a pilot changed. “One day while I was flying, I looked out the window and realized I don’t like flying,” she said while laughing. She switched her major to aeronautics with minors in business and safety. “I love safety and keeping people safe. I look forward to becoming a health and safety specialist and then the director of a health and safety firm.” 

Angel Thomas overcame being abandoned at birth, going through the foster care system, bullying, depression and anger. Now at 22, she’s the president of her graduating class at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I asked the future health and safety director if there is anything that is intimidating about graduating college. “Delivering that speech!” she jokes.

While we continued laughing, she added, “I’m not a planner, so if I can just walk across that stage and not fall, I’m good.” She will officially graduate on May 7.

My phenomenal Person of the Week is Angel Thomas. “I haven’t made plans for the next five years, but I know I’m going to be happy and very successful. You can’t stay focused on what’s in front of you, because there’s always something else on the other side of the mountain.”

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