I think it's so important to speak about the accomplishments of externally unremarkable people.
Or seemingly hopeless people.
And I mean REALLY hopeless-seeming people.
For example, Rav Bender describes a man who is basically a bum who hogs the heater in the Uman shul all the tefillah. (This is my terminology; Rav Bender's description is far more refined.)
For impoverished & cold attendees like Rav Bender, this meant they never had a chance to warm up. Ever. Due to the man's choice of language and topics, Rav Bender and others could not stand near the jerk, even to enjoy the heat.
Yet this same worthless bum later did complete teshuvah, and even made a very good name for himself.
(For the full story, please see: 2 Examples of Unforeseeable Personality Transformation.)
Interestingly, Rav Bender mentions no observation of a certain kind of "spark" or hidden potential during the time he knew the boorish man. Instead, Rav Bender sounds pleasantly surprised that after immigrating to America, the man made a deep & gradual change.
So the point is that you do not need to be some kind of special person to do teshuvah.
You don't even need to be a decent person or even someone with an ounce of EQ (emotional intelligence).
I just love the story of the boorish meat-selling bum because to me, his teshuvah is more inspiring than that of a big rasha (as featured in The True Story of How a Murderer Did Teshuvah).
After all, big reshaim can be a charismatic. They can be intelligent & savvy.
The story of the insensitive boor who is not embarrassed to hog the shul heater right in front of tremendous tzaddikim is the one that gives me the most hope.
The Inspiring Story of Dovid Heisener
Originally, Dovid Heisener was "a secular Jew devoid of Torah and mitzvos" who was also "a material person whose entire aspiration was to 'live it up'."
Dovid Heisener fearlessly risked his life to amass great wealth via the illegal transaction of dollars & gold.
Yet despite being a savvy & careful guy, Dovid Heisener was caught in Moscow with dollars on him, which earned him the punishment of banishment for 3 years.
Oddly, the court allowed him to choose where he would spend this banishment.
Even more oddly, he chose Uman in the Ukraine.
After arriving in Uman with his wife & family, Dovid Heisener heard there was a "Breslov theater" in Uman.
So, being a "happy scoffer" (as Rav Bender described him), Dovid Heisener made his way to the Breslov shul to see these "strange people who danced and jumped and practiced bizarre customs not like others..."
And indeed, Dovid Heisener found it all strange and entertaining at first.
It's obvious from Rav Bender's description that Rav Bender and the shul rabbi, Rav Avraham ben Rav Nachman, understood exactly why this "happy scoffer" was sitting in their shul.
You can also imagine how they were made fun of among the townspeople after watching this "Breslov theater," as Dovid Heisener called it.
But as always, they held by Rebbe Nosson's original custom that if someone attends the Breslov shul, there must be a reason for it, and to allow the person to attend in peace.
It doesn't mean you hang out with that person.
It doesn't mean you invite the guy for Shabbos.
But don't push him away, either.
Gradually, Dovid Heisener noticed the "deep seriousness" and "fear of Heaven" resting on the faces of the chassidim.
His attendance became regular, then he started participating in the davening and also attended the Torah classes.
Ultimately, Dovid Heisener did complete teshuvah.
And with the proceeds and materials from his leather business, Dovid Heisener provided warm coats & snow shoes to all those who wished to go out into the fields for hitbobedut during the harsh Russian winters.
In the words of Rav Bender (pg. 180):
"He was transformed from one extreme to the other. Until he actually turned into a tzaddik. That light-headed scoffer was transformed into a serious simple servant of Hashem who was a pleasure to gaze at..."
And even more so, if you're NOT starting out on such a low level.
But either way, there's definitely hope!