Legally blind fast food manager makes it work

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA-TV) - Eyesight is potentially the most valued of our senses and probably the most limiting when it's failing. Imagine trying to work in the fast food industry if you were blind.

Wendy's manager Pam Fisher surrounded by her crew

"Oh, sorry, coming through.” Pam Fisher is doing her job like any other employee at the Rapid City Wendy's on Haines Avenue. 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,” explains Pam.

Lyme disease first started Pam's spiraling eye problems at the age of 15. About six years ago she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. "That affects the peripherals to where I go completely blind. Right now I have core vision so I see through a pin hole. I also have glaucoma and that also causes blurred vision."

21 years ago Wendy's gave Pam 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. They just have to do it differently."

With just a few accommodations, Pam 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,” says Pam.

Everything must be in its correct place. The floor must be regularly swept so Pam doesn't trip. It’s probably the cleanest Wendy's around. "I would have pride in that, yes,” laughs Pam.

Slowly losing her sight, Pam hopes to hold onto her job as long as possible. "I think it's attitude, by God's grace, to be honest. It's just whatever you want to do, you can do. And that's what I've always believed."

Pam gets the most 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."

Pam cannot drive. She gets a ride to work daily. And she cut back on her responsibilities by choice since she's expecting her second child in February, 2017.

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