Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jessica Cox - Ultimate Motivator

Some twelve years ago, I was on a flight from Bombay to Nagpur.  The flight had taken off smoothly and was in the air for about 45 minutes.  Delicious breakfast was served and almost every one was having a coffee or tea cup in hand.  There was a sudden jolt, the biggest I have ever felt on a flight, and everyone spilled coffee or tea, quantity spilled being directly in proportion to the coffee or tea left in the cup and inversely proportional to their capacity to hold on to the things in such a situation.  The turbulence lasted for about two minutes and everyone heaved a sigh relief when it was over.  I was not much perturbed for two reasons.  Firstly, you cannot do anything about it.   Secondly traveling on Bangalore roads had steeled and tempered me for such a violent movement.  The only surprise was that it happened in the mid-air.  A person sitting next to me remarked that the aircraft must have hit a big cloud and the pilot also might not have seen the cloud in the flight path.  Seasoned air travelers know whether the landing has been smooth or not, which of course depends on many factors; weather conditions, state of the runway, condition of the aircraft and the skill or lack of it in the Pilot.

Ten months ago we were on a flight from Port Blair, Andaman Islands to Chennai.  The flight was very smooth and we did not even feel the minute shaking while landing.  The aircraft was waiting for a place in the terminal when the hostess announced the usual thanks of the airline company for taking that flight.  Then we realised that the Main Pilot was a woman by name Indira.  My wife was elated and conveyed her congratulations to the Pilot through the air hostess, when we were getting out of the aircraft.  She smiled broadly, happy at her colleague's  skill being recognized.

What is so special about it?, one may ask.  In a society where a female child is liable to be killed even before she is born, getting recognized as successful in any chosen area considered as a male bastion is indeed praise worthy.  Of course, today women have equaled men in all fields and in some areas even bettered them.  I was on a few flights in which the co-Pilot was a lady, but this was the first flight in which the main pilot was a woman and her skills deserved to be appreciated.

I am fortunate to have some very good friends, the third requirement for a happy man as Vidura reckoned  and I recalled in the blog "Who is a Happy Man".  One such friend sent me an e-mail photos of a pilot yesterday.  This was about a girl who flew an airplane on Mother's day, all by herself and without anyone accompanying her.  Nothing special about it.  Only that the aircraft had a board on it :  "Look Mom,  Flying without hands".  The photos made me to ponder on her success.

Jessica Cox was born in Arizona, USA, in 1973.  The child did not have the two arms due to a birth defect.  She often wondered as a child why she did not have arms like all other children.  Her parents are her greatest source of strength and Role Models.  Her mother told her that she could do anything she wanted like all other children and her father never shed a tear since her birth.  She was not considered as a victim. When she was young she frequently felt opposed, downtrodden and on the verge of tears resulting from anger due to her lack of arms.  In this background, she placed all her energy in the practice of sports and refused prosthetic limbs at the age of 13.  She started using the legs instead of hands.  She got first opportunity on stage at age six during a tap dance recital.  She says she did everything to avoid spotlight.  Her Mother and Dance Teacher convinced her otherwise.  She never looked back.

Her achievements are astounding.  Here are some of them:
  •  She can type on a keyboard with a speed of 25 words a minute.
  • She has a "Bachelor of Arts" degree  in Psychology from University of Arizona.
  • She can swim.
  • She can eat with her feet.
  • She Combs her hair, makes her eyebrows and lashes.
  • She can put on her contact lenses using fingers of the feet.
  • She drives a car on her own, a car without any modification and ones used by anybody else.
  • She has secured an unrestricted license for driving such a car.
  • She pumps gas for her car on her own and pays for it without help.
  • She is a certified SCUBA diver.
  • She is a Black Belt holder in the American Taekwondo Association. Now she has two Black Belts.
  • She secured an "Able Flight Scholarship" and after three years of training earned her Pilot's license on 10th October 2008, at age 25, becoming world's first armless pilot.  She operates all the controls using the fingers of her legs.  She can fly a light-sport aircraft  up to a height of 10000 feet. 

She has created an Organization "Jessica Cox Motivational Services" and speaks to thousands of people worldwide about how she overcame obstacles everyday and how those thousands can overcome their own obstacles. She has met everyone that matter, "From Pope to Pentagon" as her website says.  She has spoken at AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association), American Army. State Farm Insurance and many other forums.  Many of her clients are Non-profit Organizations and she aids in fund raising efforts for many good causes.

If you want her to give a lecture at your place, you may have to wait for long, for she is a very busy person.  She was in Philadelphia last week. Some where else now. But her wonderful pictures and videos can be seen at any time by visiting her website,

She hopes to  marry and have a family;  she has no illusions about the difficulties she has to face in this plan.  She is known as a person with warmth, humor, interactive and uplifting to those coming in contact with her.  Just see the name of the website for humour.

There is one question she is unable to answer.  After answering so may questions and solving so many problems in life, she asks with a twinkle in her eye, "What shall we say when the boy comes and asks  my parents for my hands in marriage?"


  1. Jessica fox - an amazing person! A true motivator. Well written.

  2. This is very nice account indeed about the girl you have mentioned.......Dinesh

  3. fantabulous stuff!!!it also shows how important it is to have superscool parents!!! sunada

  4. Live example of converting obstacles into opportunities. A lesson to one and all who cry day in and day out about things not available missing every opportunity in life.

    Graeat eyeopener. Should be shared with more and more people. Thank you.