Born in September 9, 1932 in California, Porter moved to Portland, Oregon with his mother at a young age. He was unable to gain employment due to his cerebral palsy, but refused to go on disability. Porter eventually convinced Watkins Incorporated to give him a door-to-door salesman job, selling its products on a ten-mile route in the Portland area. He eventually became the top seller for the company.
In 1995, The Oregonian ran a feature story about Porter in its newspaper. The story of his optimistic determination made him the subject of media attention across the United States. He was featured in Reader's Digest and on ABC's 20/20, and was the subject of a 2002 made-for-TV movie on TNT called Door to Door, featuring William H. Macy, Kyra Sedgwick and Helen Mirren.
After breaking his hip in a 1998 accident, Porter retired from his door-to-door salesman job, but continues working for Watkins as a consultant and online salesman. He also works as a motivational speaker, along with his assistant, Shelly Brady, who delivers products to Porter's customers.