One-armed man chases dream of bartending

One-armed man chases dream of bartending
Smith is almost ready to take his unique brand of bottle pouring to the city. (Source: NBC12)
Smith is almost ready to take his unique brand of bottle pouring to the city. (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We use our hands for almost everything, but one man in Richmond is achieving with one hand, what some of us can barely do with both.

Alex Smith is a bartender in training, who is keeping a firm grip on his dreams. He has always been a "glass half full" type of guy.

"I do things the same as everyone else, but just in a different way," said Smith.

Even though he may only have one functioning hand, it's all he needs.

"My disability is classified as cerebral palsy," said Smith. "I've had it my entire life...I just learned to overcome it."

By hooking two bottles between his fingers and with a twist of his wrist, he makes the seemingly impossible happen.

"It's a lot of memorization, but I've gotten pretty good with my pouring and everything that goes into it so far," said Smith.

Smith has always wanted to be a bartender, but with his disability, he knew his journey to the other side of the counter wouldn't be an easy one...unless he had a helping hand.

"I have the attitude that I can teach anybody how to bartend," said Mike Love, Professional Bartending Academy Director.

Love decided to give Smith a shot.

"When you get down to what makes a great bartender...not always is it the drink, but the personality of the individual," said Love. "I had some techniques of free pouring in my back pocket, so when I was talking with him over the phone, I was confident that I could get him up to speed and make him a good bartender."

After two months of training in the taproom, Smith is almost ready to take his unique brand of bottle pouring to the city.

"Honestly, I think he's going to kill it," said Love. "He's the only one in Richmond who can do a two-bottle pour, and being that he has a disability, I think is even more impressive."

"Overcoming a challenge is definitely something that interests me, because I get to say 'hey, I did this bartending thing' and I feel like it inspires people," said Smith.

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