At a mall in Ohio, a teenage boy sits at a keyboard in a music store and starts to play. His fingers glide effortlessly over the keys, and beautiful music fills the air.
Shoppers stop and listen. A crowd gathers. People pull out their phones to record him.
Those who look closer are even more astonished—because there’s something extraordinary about Darrius Simmons, the boy making magic at the keyboard.
He’s playing with only four fingers.
Darrius, 18, was born with three fingers on his right hand and one on his left hand. He was also missing bones in his lower legs. But Darrius has never let these challenges get in the way.
When he was just a toddler, doctors fitted Darrius with artificial legs called prostheses. They were uncomfortable to wear at first, but Darrius was determined to walk.
He spent hours practicing by holding on to furniture. When he was almost 3, he took his first real steps, and his family celebrated.
As Darrius grew older, he had to work hard to do things that were easy for other kids. Anytime someone tried to help, he would say, “I can do it myself.”
For example, he learned to use the three fingers on his right hand to hold a fork. He also taught himself to write—and before long, he was playing basketball, football, and video games with his friends.