Ricardo Ching Inspires Like The Little Engine That Could
Born with a common neurological disability, Ricardo Chings's problems started when he was only in the second grade. The incessant teasing, bullying and harassing by fellow students went on daily all the way through middle school.
It didn't end at school. His stepfather "completed" those abusive childhood days with his own brand of daily cursing and yelling that knew no bounds.
But Ricardo managed to prevail, recounting this good example:
"I was still able and willing to do student government projects and even won a powerful fight in September 1972 to become the sophomore vice president."
Being pragmatic has probably helped:
"It's impossible to ask a baby not to cry; it's just impossible. It's also impossible to ask a crowing child not to tease; it's just impossible. I walk and I talk funny and people react."
But being totally determined to overcome any obstacle is Ricardo's true trademark characteristic. He fully embodies "The Little Engine That Could" credo.
Cerebral Palsy Set The Playing Field
Ricardo was born with cerebral palsy (CP). On top of that, he says that like many people with CP, he is also dyslexic.
He wore lag braces up to his knees until he was about five years old. Once the braces were off, something magical happened.
Before he was eight years old, and after working at it for about a year, he learned how to ride a bicycle with two wheels. He rode it all over his big neighborhood and for many years.
During his years in high school, everyone told him he would never be able to drive. Says Ricardo,
"I got my driver's license and bought my own car the second year after high school."
Moving on, he was an office clerk for the Radiological Control Department at Pearl Harbor Shipyard. While there, he filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case against the medical clinic for disqualifying him to drive ANY government vehicle.
He won the case after fighting for two years and got a job in the Transportation Department as a forklift operator. To add to his victory celebration, he got married and he bought his own apartment with no help from anyone.
Defying The Odds Again And Again
Throughout his life, Ricardo has brought forth that innate ability to overcome the challenges placed in his way. It started when he was a youngster. And of course it hasn't abated as the years passed.
"When I was eight years old, my physical therapist came to our house regularly to see how I was doing. One day she brought her Polaroid Camera and took pictures of me riding my bicycle. Apparently she needed to show other people the true story."
"When I won the vice president race in the beginning of my sophomore year in high school, I am sure there were a lot of students that called me stupid. With the passing years though, they've thought much differently about me winning that election."
Every now and then, Ricardo looks through his high school yearbooks with tears of many different emotions springing from his love for all classmates. Showing regret for the past, one message said,
"Ricardo, I am sorry. We are now adults. And when we were kids, you know, we were kids."
The shipyard has thousands of federal employees, including CP disabled Ricardo operating a forklift all over the place every day. He was told that his name comes up regularly in many different conversations among people having a hard time believing that he can actually operate a forklift.
Some Things That Have Really Helped
Along with the many hardships that confronted Ricardo throughout his life, there have been some things that definitely belong on the positive side of the ledger.
It is a lot easier and faster for Ricardo to type than to write. During his sophomore year in high school, he had asked the typing teacher if he could practice using one of the many electric typewriters in her classroom. Completely on his own, he learned how to type, not to be competitive, but just to know.
He knew that his family would not teach him how to drive, so he was very thankful that the State Department Of Vocational Rehab was able to find an instructor to teach him how to drive.
Been There, Done That, So To Speak
Ricardo has mild CP and he wants to be inclusive and think of everyone as he offers life advice. He says this because there are many severely disabled people that will never be able to completely take care of themselves. In a nutshell, Ricardo says,
"We can only do the best we can do with what we have. Being realistic and truthful to ourselves is all that we can ever do."
"We need to reveal the worthiness of disabled children at a young age and assure them that they will always be well taken care of and able to live a life as free from fear as possible."
Join The Ricardo Ching Bandwagon
It feels so good to be "The Little Engine That Could!" Right? Just ask Ricardo!
Well, anyone can share that feeling simply by joining up with Ricardo on some exciting projects designed to carry him and his partners through the medical expense challenges that arrive so inevitably in later life.
Here are two possibilities to help you feel the satisfaction of chug-chugging your way to the top of the mountain with Ricardo!
- Make a simple general contribution of any amount via this PayPal link. In return, you'll receive a pre-release version of his highly inspirational book, "The Road Is Long With Many A Winding Turn" as a downloadable, printable PDF. More importantly, you'll be magically immersed in "The Little Engine That Could" vibes that define Ricardo. Click this PayPal link to get started.
- Make a contribution to Ricardo's Latest Crowdfunding Campaign. You'll have a chance to join an exciting group of never-give-up supporters on their way to overcoming another challenge!
So there you go... two concrete ways for you to join in with Ricardo and his supporters and sense the deep satisfaction of achieving goals that sometimes seem so out of reach.