Parker grew up with people telling him what he couldn’t do – ride a bike, drive a car or find a good job. But Parker never listened, and he did it all anyways.
“I don’t listen too much to people when they tell me I can’t do something. There’s not a whole lot that’s gonna stand in my way.”
Parker tells that he doesn’t know where he got his drive to succeed, but if you listen to his parents tell Richie’s story, you would probably get a clue.
When doctors told his father that his son would be born without arms. Richie’s father said, “I was just sort of dumbfounded, like ‘what do you mean?”
But that was before he saw his son.
“He was the cutest baby,” said Richie’s father. “He was the cutest little boy. After about five minutes it was ‘when can I take my kid home? Just gimme my kid.'”
Richie’s mother didn’t waste a lot of time focusing on what was missing, either. She’d already began problem solving when she got the news.
“I’m thinking, how we gonna get through this? How would he eat? How would he open doors. How would he do just the normal day-to-day things? But when I saw Richie, there were no more questions after that.”
They wanted Richie’s childhood to be as close to any other child’s as possible. That was their goal, and they set out to make it work. They might do it differently but they do make it work.
When Richie became a teenager, he wanted a car, and with ingenuity converted a 1964 Impala to be drivable with his feet.
A life spent solving problems led Richie to become an engineer. And when he applied for a 10 month intership at Hendrick Motorsports he got the job.
8 years and 5 championships later he’s still there. Designing race car parts with his feet.
There is very little that determination and a loving family cannot achieve. And Richie is always looking to achieve even more.
“I’m just never satisfied, I don’t know where it comes from. And sometimes it kinda drives me crazy but that’s how I live my life.”
A good example for us all.