AMAZING! Engineer Born With No Arms: “Can’t Is Never The Answer”
Meet Richie Parker. He likes to fix up old cars in his spare time. He drives a very sweet 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS. At his day job, he’s an engineer for the most winning organization in NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports. The most NASCAR wins have come from the team that Richie works with and designs. He turned a 10-month internship there into a career that has so far spanned ten years and five championships. But did I mention that he doesn’t have arms?
It turns out that living without arms is just a minor detail for 30-something Parker. From driving to doing computer design work, Parker does it all with his feet.
With the help of his incredible parents who taught him never to say the he “can’t”, Parker spent his whole life coming up with or “engineering” solutions to this problem and proving people wrong when they tell him he can’t do something. So, it’s no wonder he became an engineer as a profession.
“In life, there were a whole lot of people who said I couldn’t do things: They said I couldn’t ride a bicycle. That I couldn’t live on my own or get a good job and support myself or couldn’t go to college and graduate… I don’t listen to people who say I can’t do something. There’s not a whole lot that can stand in my way.”
Richie was born with bilateral amelia, a non-genetic birth defect in which limbs aren’t formed. It can also result in a shrunken or deformed limb. For example, a child might be born without an elbow or forearm. The complete absence of an arm or leg in amelia occurs as a result of the limb formation process being either prevented or interrupted very early in the developing embryo: between 24 and 36 days following fertilization. In a few cases, amelia may be attributed to health complications during the early stages of pregnancy, including infection, failed abortion or complications associated with removal of an IUD after pregnancy, or exposure to specific drugs
While the idea of not having any arms might be terrifying to many, 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).
Just like every other hurdle in his life, Parker found a way. Like placing the keyboard and mouse on the floor, then…