A Disability Is an Inspiration

Posted by Sarah V. Hayes on Feb 3rd 2023

A Disability Is an Inspiration

Remember Jeff Daniel's who portrayed The Blue Man in the movie, 5 People You Meet In Heaven? The Blue Man's story was that he had ingested too much silver nitrate hoping it would calm his anxious thoughts. Instead, the solution turned his skin blue. Similarly, while reading an article from Reader's Digest titled "Joshua Miele: Inspiration from an Unthinkable Crime", Miele's was attacked with sulfuric acid at age four. The liquid turned his skin brown and left him blind.

Nearby hospitals didn't have the ability to effectively deal with Miele's situation. "The intern explained that only the military had the ability to deal with the kind of burn injury that Josh had," stated Reader's Digest. After contacting the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, he was transported by helicopter to Maguire Airforce Base in New Jersey.

While the movie and book, 5 People You Meet In Heaven is fictitious, the story of Josh Miele's is not. Miele's story is real and thus he lives with the consequences each day.

For reasons of insanity, based on paranoia schizophrenia, the neighbor who committed the crime, Basilio Bousa, 24, at the time, was found not guilty. Later, he died of emphysema.

Miele's father and mother had eventually separated.

Often times, when neighborhood children would see Miele playing with his sister, they would cry and scream, "Mommy! A monster!" His brother would often get into fistfights with those who negatively commented on Josh's appearance.

Though Miele had a newfound disability, he learned to read Braille and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in physics and a PhD in psychoacoustics from the University of California, Berkeley. A highly intelligent man, he helped blind people navigate computer-based software programs. "He developed software for the Mars Observer for NASA. He is the president of the board of directors of the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind, he plays bass in a band and he works as an associate scientist at the nonprofit Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute," says Reader's Digest.

Clearly, a disability does not have to hinder one's achievements.