Amanda Lopez accepts the fact that her physical appearance is different. What has never been acceptable is the fact that those differences are deficits.
Amanda is an inside Sr. Account Manager in our Maitland Florida sales center and her story will be featured in an recent edition of Born Different on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Facebook.
Born with amniotic band syndrome, a fetal condition that can cause malformation of hands, feet, and limbs, Amanda’s hands never fully formed and she is missing part of her right leg, below the knee. In Amanda’s case, her hands are less dexterous, making gripping objects difficult and the prosthetic right leg made learning to drive a bit of a challenge. None of this has ever prevented her from embracing life and achieving any goal she set for herself. She’s studied to be a medical assistant at Valencia College, held several sales roles and danced the night away at clubs. Whatever hurdles appear, Amanda has always been able to figure it out.
“I never wanted anyone to do anything for me,” she said. Raised in a supportive and encouraging family, Amanda learned to help herself and be self-sufficient. Missing part of her hands is the most challenging, because some tasks like fastening tiny buttons or zippers, just take a long time to figure out. With patience and determination, Amanda not only persevered but thrived.
Amanda began working, as many teenagers do, in fast food. Working the drive-thru window of the Kentucky Fried Chicken she had to learn how to be fast while wearing gloves with no hope of ever suiting her hands. Next came a job at Claire’s where unclasping tiny earrings from their plastic backing took some time. She also worked at Forever 21 dressing mannequins. Each working experience presented unique challenges.
Her first interview with Staples couldn’t have been more perfect. Her interviewer also had a birth defect, on his hand, and she connected with him immediately.
“My disability has given me purpose,” she says. Her strong faith and family have no doubt contributed to this outlook and Amanda is a vivacious and ambitious, eager to share her journey. Her goal is to advocate for people with disabilities and to show them that despite their disability, they can achieve.
She is also keenly aware that physical differences can be met with awkward stares or clumsy whispers. Amanda has had some points in her life where her concern with what others thought of her appearance, governed her choices. For a long time, she limited her clothing options to those pieces that would disguise her prosthetic leg. Although not self-conscious as a child, there was a time in young adulthood where it was safer for her to conceal. Nowadays, she loves to try on flouncy skirts and anything fashion forward out of her favorite off-price shops. Fashion and music have always been her passion. She has a YouTube channel devoted to her finds that you can find here.
Amanda insists that her time at Staples has been incredible. According to Amanda, her sales manager, Jared Cartwright, is very kind, helpful and inspirational. In fact, her whole team consistently helps each other to succeed. She never needed accommodation, with her role at Staples or any job she has held, but she is confident that if she needed something her Staples family would make it happen.