Billie May was born with no hands, no feet, and no fear. For his entire life he has refused to see himself as different from anybody else.
As a result of unexplained birth defects, Billie’s left leg is missing entirely; his right, from the knee down. His left arm ends just past the elbow; his right with a small nub at the wrist.
Yet with the aid of prosthetic limbs and plenty of hard-headed determination, Billie has not only learned to live a fully self-sufficient life, he’s also one of Ranger North’s most versatile equipment operators.
“I’m very impressed with Billie,” says Phil Flowers, his supervisor. “He can run almost anything and will do whatever we need him to do. I’m proud of him.”
“He’s my hero,” adds co-worker Richard “Captain” Blair unashamedly. “To me he’s ten feet tall.”
Hired in the early 1990s to work in traffic control, Billie soon learned to operate a wide range of equipment, from rollers and loaders to scrapers and dozers. After a brief period living in Kentucky, Billie is now back in action at Ranger. And the emphasis is definitely on “action.” Billie is known for his outstanding work ethic and “never say never” spirit.
“I’ve had some guys who get a sore finger and don’t want to come in to work,” Phil says. “Billie wishes he had a finger that could be sore. But he doesn’t let that stop him.”
Indeed, on the job or off, Billie is remarkably sure-handed. When he’s not compacting a subgrade or loading out old asphalt, he enjoys shooting pool in one of Daytona’s many tournaments.
As he speaks with a visitor, he fishes out a new pack of cigarettes, unwraps the top, taps one out, and lights up a smoke, his hook and nub accomplishing the task with impossible ease. He mentions that he wants to get into stock car racing someday.
Stock car racing? And why not?
If Billie May has learned one thing, it’s never put limits on what he can do.