Woman With No Arms Sees Aspirations Become Inspiration

ARNOLD, MO. (KTVI) – A St. Louis woman in search of a graphic design job has seen that quest take quite a turn.  Tisha Shelton has become a YouTube sensation because of a series of videos she posted aimed at wooing employers.  She has a degree, but she feared something she lacks would cause a problem with would-be bosses.  She doesn’t have any arms.

Shelton, 25, went to Next Step for Life Employment Services seeking help in her job search.  She was told networking was always helpful, so she decided to start making YouTube videos showing how she performs day to day tasks.

The first one showed her making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, jumping on the counter and using her chin and shoulder to get a plate, then using her feet to get bread and spread the PB&J.

Her introduction to the video was succinct.  “Hi this is Tisha UnArmed, here to answer all your questions about not having arms.  Because as you can see, I don’t have any arms.”

And with that, the “Tisha UnArmed” YouTube channel was born.

“If I’m gonna go on an interview they’re gonna look at me and go, ‘oh, she’s disabled, we’re gonna have to worry about this. How’s she gonna take care of the job?’  And I just wanted to ease their mind, and be like, I can do anything that you can do.”

But a funny thing happened with the videos.  They went nowhere on the job market, and worldwide on the web.   The sandwich video went viral, along with many others.  The vignettes have had more than a million views.

Since the sandwich video, she’s shown herself getting dressed, taking a shower, eating sushi with chop sticks, and another that’s really turned heads

“My driving video. How I drive my car,” she responded when asked which one has created the greatest stir.

A special driver’s education teacher brought in by Melville High School years ago helped her outfit the car she drives today, using her foot to steer

Tisha’s aspiration for a job has become an inspiration.  It’s something she didn’t know was coming until the comments started pouring in

“(Comments) saying that, ‘you’re an inspiration and we love you and you’ve helped me in my life.’  And I’m just like, wow.  All these people are being so supportive.

And she was moved by just who she could help.

“Teachers, physical therapists, OT’s.  They’ll contact me and they’re like, ‘we have this four year old born without arms and we don’t know how to deal with her.  We don’t know how to teach her how to do things, and I’m like, ‘wow, that’s a need?’”

Asked how she came to take all these seemingly challenging tasks in stride, she doesn’t hesitate with her answer.

“My mom is amazing,” she says.  “I mean , I give her all props for raising me properly and telling me there’s nothing I can’t do.”

But despite all the attention, her main focus hasn’t changed.

“My passion is graphic design and I love doing that more than anything,” she says.

Thousands have reached out to her since the videos began, but she’s still waiting for the person with her dream job to call.  Rest assured, she will be able to do anything they ask.

See the “Tisha UnArmed” YouTube Channel

Next Step For Life Employment Service