CBS Journalist Steve Hartman says he decided to tell one of his recent stories for an audience of one, his 12-year-old nephew, who is blind.
Ted: “I thought like, I was doomed, although that does sound a little immature, but…”
Steve: “A woe is me kind of feeling?”
Ted: “Yes. I really want to be like everyone else sometimes, you know.”
So when Hartman heard about a drag racer trying to set a new world speed record, he said knew Ted and others had to meet him.
In 2012, Dan Parker of Columbus, Georgia got in a really bad crash. He suffered a traumatic brain injury so severe, it blinded him.
“I never imagined I’d be back in the seat of a racecar,” Parker said. “But I’ve been a racer my whole life, I just had to figure out another way to do it.”
A machinist by trade, Parker got adaptive equipment so he could make parts, and then designed an entire race car.
“That just amazes me,” Ted said.
Parker and his crew came to Spaceport America in southern New Mexico to attempt a Guinness record, fastest car driven blindfolded.
Of course, no blindfold was needed, but he did have a special audio guidance system, and for safety purposes, a sighted driver next to him with hands hovering over the steering wheel, just in case. But it wasn’t necessary.
Parker went 211 mph, set a record, and more importantly, an example.
“Ted, I want you to know that blindness is not what is stopping you. Surround yourself with believers, and go for your dreams. You can make excuses, or you can make it happen,” Parker said.
Parker says inspiring the Teds of the world is the main reason he did this. It’s safe to say, it was well worth the drive.
“If he can do that, well then I think could easily pursue my dream. Wait… what about flying a plane?” Ted said.
Sure enough, pilot Sidney Irish of Roosevelt, New York, offered to give Ted his dream flight.
For the kid who once thought he was doomed just because he couldn’t see, the kind inspiration of others has clearly opened his eyes.