Legally blind fast food manager makes it work

Legally blind fast food manager makes it work

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) -- Eyesight is potentially the most valued of our senses and probably the most limiting when it's failing.

Wendy's manager Pam Fisher surrounded by her crew

Now, imagine trying to work in the fast food industry if you were blind.

"Oh, sorry, coming through.”

Pam Fisher is doing her job like any other employee at a Wendy's restaurant in Rapid City, South Dakota. In fact, she's a manager and a trainer and she's doing it legally blind.

One of her tricks is to memorize the cash register.

"I already know this is a $5, $10, $20, cash, exact. So I already know the sequence of the boxes,” she explained.

Lyme disease first started Fisher's spiraling eye problems at the age of 15. Then, about six years ago, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa.

"That affects the peripherals to where I go completely blind," she explained. "Right now, I have core vision so I see through a pinhole. I also have glaucoma and that also causes blurred vision."

Twenty-one years ago, Wendy's gave Fisher a chance. They didn't hold her disability against her and she's so grateful.

"As an employer, I think that's important for anyone who is disabled. I think anyone can do anything," she said. "They just have to do it differently."

With just a few accommodations, Fisher is a loyal, steadying force in a field with tremendous turnover.

"You have bodies everywhere, helping each other wherever it's needed. So if people say, 'Pam, I'm right next to you,’ or I tell them, 'I'm coming up behind you," that's the kind of communication that we do here so I don't run into anybody,” Fisher said.

Everything must be in its correct place. The floor must be regularly swept so she doesn't trip. It’s probably the cleanest Wendy's around.

"I would have pride in that, yes,” Fisher laughed.

Slowly losing her sight, Fisher hopes to hold onto her job as long as possible.

"I think it's attitude, by God's grace, to be honest," she said. "It's just whatever you want to do, you can do. And that's what I've always believed."

Fisher gets the most out of her abilities.

“Able. It's not disabled. It's focusing on the able You're able to do anything you want to do. You just have to find a way to do it," she said.

She can't drive, and gets a ride to work daily. And she cut back on her responsibilities by choice since she's expecting her second child in February.

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