Richie Parker, 30, grew up with a chorus of doubters telling him what he couldn’t do without hands – ride a bike, drive a car or find a good job. But Parker never listened, and today he drives his own car and is a respected engineer for NASCAR’s most winning organization, Hendrick Motorsports.
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He’s a number of things: car enthusiast, engineer, employee, son. He’s a normal guy for his age, working a job in a field he loves. Oh, he also happens to have no arms. After watching this video from ESPN, we can’t help but think that Richie might describe himself in just such a way, with his birth defect a secondary part of his life, scarcely worth mentioning. His story is a remarkable one, about not letting bumps in the road stop you and about finding ingenious solutions to problems you or I have never thought about.
Richie was born with bilateral amelia, a non-genetic birth defect in which limbs aren’t formed. While the idea of not having any arms might be terrifying to many, as shown in the video, having dealt with it since birth has lead Richie to develop a number of interesting solutions. He can ride a bike, open the fridge and microwave on his own, use a computer and drive a car with his feet – virtually everything we can do (and take for granted) Richie can do with a bit of determination and creativity. Not surprisingly, finding those interesting solutions to everyday problems teamed with his love of cars led to a job at one of the finest NASCAR teams in the country.
Below is a video of Richie driving and designing cars.
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