Richie Parker grew up surrounded by doubters.
People said he’d never be able to do the most basic things in life like ride a bike, drive a car, and get a college degree.
“Every step of the way in life there have been people who say I can’t do things. Said I couldn’t ride a bicycle, there have been people who said that I couldn’t live on my own. Couldn’t get a good job and support myself,” said Parker in an interview with ESPN.
It’s a good thing he never listened.
Richie, now 30, works as a vehicle engineer for NASCAR’s most successful racing team, Hendrick Motorsports.
Oh, and he does it with no arms.
Richie was born with bilateral amelia, a non-genetic birth defect in which limbs aren’t formed. And while the thought of living without arms sounds terrifying to some, Richie can do all the things we can do with a little bit of persistence and creativity.
“I always wanted to drive,” said Richie.
“I was told by a few different people, well, if there’s a bus in your area or if there are taxicabs, you should use that as your transportation.”
“But that just wasn’t me,” Richie added.
At 15 years old, Richie met his dream car – a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS that his parents convinced the driver to sell. Today, the respected engineer still drives the Impala using just his feet.
“I don’t listen too much to people when they tell me I can’t do something,” said Richie. “There’s not a whole lot that’s gonna stand in my way.”