A fireman from Texas is living proof that when people say you’ll never amount to anything, determination and hard work is all it takes to prove them wrong.
Santos Vallejo grew up being told he should only aspire to be a custodian due to an early learning disability. Growing up he had to deal with teachers making him clean after class, bullying in school because he could not read, and having to be put in separate classes because of his learning disability.
KRISTV reports in his younger years, Santos mowed lawns, worked at Taco Bell and labored at numerous jobs just to make ends meet. The voices of his past caused him to live in fear that he’d be fired because of his disability, so he kept multiple jobs just in case things didn’t work out.
After working hard and finding success in customer service oriented jobs, Vallejo decided he wanted more out of life and he wanted to give back — he decided to become a firefighter.
KRISTV reports that although the negative voices of his past still haunted him, he thought he’d give the entrance exam a try — he nailed it — ending up ranked 5th on the exam. That’s when he says he found his calling.
“They (educators) told my mother don’t push him to become anything because all you’re going to do trouble him,” Vallejo tells KRISTV.
Working as a firefighter, Vallejo helped many people in many different ways. With a renewed self-confidence in his own abilities, he decided he wanted to help children suffering with learning disabilities and decided to write children’s books.
His goal was simple — he wanted to help children gain confidence and overcome the fear of not being good enough for anything.
“There are a lot of kids out there being labeled, Vallejo tells KRISTV, I’ve been told by parents ‘thanks so much for coming out here, my daughter has so much trouble reading,’ and I know what that’s like.”
Vallejo has authored three children’s books plus did all the illustrations himself.
His books are a coming of age journey of growing up with dyslexia and how he’s had to deal with bullying in school and at work. His third book explains for children how he became a fireman.
“The stuff that I do is just to give back to the community,” Vallejo tells KRISTV. “I don’t gain anything out of it. I just want to motivate others to achieve their dreams and their goals.”
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