Inspirational speaker tells Snow
students of dreams, not disabilities
By Max Higbee
Nov. 23, 2017
Chad Hymas has been called “the most inspirational speaker in the world” by the Wall Street Journal. For the last two decades, he has traveled the country and the world speaking to audiences of diverse sizes and backgrounds, from LDS Church Firesides and students at schools to executive retreats for large businesses.
Last Thursday, Nov. 16, Hymas brought his message to Snow College in its second-to-last convocation of the semester. He had been on the road for ninety days straight, and this was his last engagement before returning home.
“Snow brought me here to talk about disability awareness, and I’m going to. But that’s not going to be about me being in a wheelchair,” said Hymas as he began his presentation. He is in a wheelchair, cannot walk and has limited use of his upper body, but he explained that everybody has some sort of struggle, some disability in life. Many of those are less visible or more severe than paralysis.
Hymas said,“I just wanted to be a farmer. I never had this speaking thing in mind. Yet, it never would have happened without the accident. I just wanted a little piece of land, but now I’ve seen all seven continents that God made. You see, I wasn’t dreaming big enough.”
“I’ve been a lot of places, I’ve met a lot of people, and some of those people, even though they can walk, are more trapped than I am.” According to Hymas, a disability can be such things as peer pressure, pressure to succeed, and addiction, in addition to familiar disabilities like physical handicaps or mental illness.
Hymas shared one example, a high school student named Josh, who was often mocked for his lisp and other eccentricities. He told his father that he either wanted to kill himself or switch schools because of the way that the other students treated him. His father responded: “You’re not going to kill yourself, you’re not going to die, you’re going to go back there and be nice to those people.”
Josh did so, specifically by making a habit of holding open a door at the top of the stairs to the second story of their school. The other students noticed his simple gesture, his place in the community. While, at first, he was even made fun of for holding the door, he soon garnered the respect of his fellow students, forming a deep relationship with a former bully who is now his best friend. He built a camaraderie with most of the students in his school. By the end of his senior year, he was voted Prom King and given an actual door signed by many students who’d used “his door.”
“Here’s how he did it,” said Hymas. “He stopped thinking about his lisp and clothes that people made fun of… when he was having a rough day, he tried to take the words I, me, and mine out of his mind, and insert you, we, ours, and us. He realized that when he didn’t focus on himself, his disability became less significant–to him and everyone else.”
Hymas became a quadraplegic in 2001, at the age of 27, when the hydraulics on a hay lift he was operating failed, dropping a 2,000 pound bale of hay on his neck. His sons were one and three at the time of the accident. He and his wife have raised their children together, including two adopted children: a girl who was born in Guatemala, and a son from Ethiopia.
Chad Hymas and his family turned a life-shattering event into something wonderful. He has impacted, for the better, thousands of people around the world.