James O'Neal suffers from neurofibromatosis, which leaves him looking like the modern day Elephant Man (he makes this comparison himself).
Others would probably hide than work, but James is a remarkable man: he is working proudly at the registers in the Safeway supermarket in Kirkland, Washington. And his customers don't like him - they love him!
Now one of his loyal customers, Katie Knopf has created a website to raise funds for reconstructive surgery for James:
O'Neal knows his deformity shocks people. He knows others with the same genetic disorder would rather hide than work, but for 7 years James has proudly worked the registers at the Kingsgate Safeway on 124th Avenue NE in Kirkland.
"I just tell people this is who I am, it's the way I am. If you don't like me, you don't like me," he said. His customers don't like him -- they love him.
"He is an amazing man and we love him. He's the kind of person that makes your day," said customer Aubrey Richins. "I really love James," said shopper Katie Knopf.
All of them say they were stunned at first when they saw his disfigured face. "I have to admit I was a little taken back, but when I walked through his line I felt this spirit come over me, this man is out here, not hiding," said long-time customer Cindy Peay.
Also check out: Life in the Fast Lane's post about Modern Day Elephant Man Heroes