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Owner of BD Burgers, Brian Sawyers sits on BD Burger’s business car. The business offers their delivery service.
The Man in The Mirror: How a Former Incarcerated Man’s Life Was Saved Through Family and Business
This is not your typical rags-to-riches story. Meet the story’s main character: Brian Sawyers. He is the owner of BD Burgers located on Central Ave in Los Angeles, but before becoming a business owner, he journeyed through a lot of experiences that made him a better person. This “new man” is one who Sawyers says can be attributed by looking at “the man in the mirror.”
Just like it takes seasoning to perfect a burger, the same metaphor applied to Sawyers' life, as he did not always live the best life. His life was seasoned by ups and downs; ups being with the birth of his daughter Amber, downs with being incarcerated. He was arrested for drug-related charges and sentenced to life in prison. Fortunately, he was able to only serve 12 years and 8 months sentence after getting to see a judge again. He was living a controversial lifestyle. While in prison, he experienced undesirable circumstances and he came to a realization that he didn’t want to work for anyone when he got released.
While in prison, Sawyers received the worst news any father could get. His only daughter at the time, Amber, was diagnosed with a rare children’s disease Rhabdomyosarcoma after being sick for a period of three months.
“She was diagnosed with cancer and she was given like 60 days to live. I was running ten miles a day in prison. I was the healthiest in my life. I just knew that, you know, just let my baby see me. And some kind of way it happened,” he said choking back tears.
Sawyers was able to visit Amber in the hospital, with guidance of police officers. Her primary doctor heard about how healthy he was and he was able to donate blood that day. That would be the last time he would see Amber before she lost her fight to cancer in January 1999. Sawyers was released in 2000 and was unfortunately unable to attend her funeral. Even after seeing the pain in his eyes and voice, talking about this experience from over ten years ago, he says Amber saved his life.
“So many things happen centered around Amber. If I’m praying about something I’ll just say to Amber, go take it to God and it happens. You’d be amazed. She’s amazing. She definitely still lives,” he said with a big smile on his face.
B.D. Burgers’ delicious tacos.
The different types of tacos offered are beef,
chicken and turkey.
Owner of BD Burgers Brian Sawyers stands next to a sign for the ice cream parlor in the restaurant, which he dedicated to his daughter Amber, who died of cancer.
He had a new mission. With the help, inspiration and motivation of friends, he was able to start BD Burgers, named after a dear friend, B.D. His initial partner was Draq, who gave Sawyers to the money to start the business. The nearby local church also helped out by giving the business a few months free of rent. The fast food spot is known for its delicious burgers, mouth-watering lemonade, breakfast foods and flavorful tacos. I myself got to sample the turkey burger, which was a delicious clash of flavorful ingredients giving my palette an experience I didn’t want to end. There is also an ice cream parlor section of the restaurant, which Sawyers dedicated to Amber.
Not only does the business offer delicious entrees, but services to the community. BD Burgers mentor the youth, cater to many local events and helps mentor felons. Because of the beauty he saw in his daughter, he has taken on a new mission to always show those he cares about that he loves them and to help those in the community. This is why BD Burgers catered for the Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation Blood Drive by giving a free burger to everyone who donated blood that day. Sabriya’s Castle of Fun is committed to helping children with blood-related illnesses and their families with their needs. He has also decided to participate in Taste of Soul 2013 as a vendor.
From everything that Sawyers has experienced, he had advice to give for those who are going through similar situations with themselves or loved ones.
“You got to stay healthy with your family. You are an essential element of their life. Sometimes in the Black family, we don’t celebrate love. We celebrate holidays, we celebrate birthdays, we don’t just celebrate love. And now I try to make it my daily thing to call one of my siblings and let them know I love them,” Sawyers said.
BD Burgers caters as well, so if you are interested, please contact 323-563-3297.
BDSBURGERS: B.D. Burgers is located on
10203 South Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90002.