A Second Chance at Genesis Health Clubs

Thursday, September 24 2020 12:27 PM

At Genesis Health Clubs we can confidently say that we’re used to helping others reach their fitness goals. But what about goals outside the facility?

With all the 2020 troubles we’re still facing together, it’s time for some good news.

Here’s a story that comes from Kansas City, where Genesis KC Regional Manager Jamie Narron offered Tyler Bittel an extraordinary gift: a chance.

On a normal day, Narron would drive home to meet his wife after work. On a special day, Narron stopped to meet a special person, Tyler Bittel who was holding a sign that read “anything helps” on the side of the road. Narron offered Bittel five bucks and drove away. But not five minutes later, Narron turned his big white truck around to find Bittell again, offering him a chance to work and make more.

“He asked me to get in his truck and that’s where I told him the whole story,” said Bittel. “I grew up in Central Kansas and worked in the oil fields in Western Kansas. I got into drugs and my wife left me. I lost everything… I came to Kansas City to try to start fresh and get my life back together. I came back to KC because it’s the last place where I felt any sort of success.”

It’s been almost three years since Bittel’s last job. It’s been months of sobriety and his will to work that has kept him going. In the car ride home, Narron and Bittel grew close sharing stories and vulnerabilities. Narron drove Bittel back to his place where he gave him clothes, food, and yard work to do together for a few hours so that he could earn some extra cash. After they had finished, Bittel left his sign in the garage feeling renewed, and Narron drove him back to the bus station so that he could take it back downtown to the shelter. “Before he left, I got Jamie’s phone number and another opportunity – to come in for an interview,” said Bittel.

After the weekend, Bittel came in and landed the job as the new maintenance technician at Vivion Road. His first day was September 14 and so far, Bittel says that it’s been great. “Everyone has been very nice and welcoming towards me. It feels good to have goals again, to be a productive member of society, to have something to look forward to every day.”

Narron is proud of his new hire – a firm believer in giving people opportunities. Narron stated how excited he was to have Bittel on board, sharing a bit about his experience with Bittel’s work ethic so far, how impressed and hopeful he is for the future.

“Let me tell you about how cool this guy is. Someone stole his phone at the shelter, so he lost my phone number. He had an 11 o’clock meeting with us. So this guy walks all the way to the bus station, rides the bus to me, tells me at 10 o’clock in person, and then heads back… It just goes to show how bad he wants it. How he’s turning his life around.”

Bittel says that he’s beyond grateful for the chance that Jamie provided. “I’m a hard worker and needed a chance for so long. I have just been trying to get a foot in somewhere. I’m very appreciative of Jamie. He showed me kindness at my lowest point in life. It’s been so long since I’ve been treated with respect and that is worth more than any dollar amount.”

When asked about what advice he would give to those in similar situations, Bittel wanted to encourage people to never give up.

“Being homeless is… I have no words. It’s hard on a man just trying to find food and water, not knowing where you’re going to end up at night. My advice would be to always keep pushing. Always be willing to work.”

If you come to the club at Vivion Road, be sure to say “Hi” to Tyler Bittel who will welcome you with a friendly smile. At the club, you’ll also see Jamie Narron and other familiar faces that make up the Genesis family.

At Genesis Health Clubs, we’re a proud place that treats people with respect. A place where its community strives to go far beyond the club to help people achieve their goals and their dreams.



Story written by Ellen Healy

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