Crozet’s India Sims gets a surprise from R&B star and rises above odds

India Sims shares her story of resilience.
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 4:17 PM EDT
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CROZET, Va. (WVIR) - India Sims is a beauty specialist with a focus in massage therapy, makeup, and more. She’s wanted to work at a spa for quite some time.

Sims has been using a wheelchair for nearly her entire life, and employers rarely looked past it.

“When I rolled in to meet different managers or for the interview, they would look at me differently,” Sims said. “They would either say ‘Is that permanent?’ or ‘We need to talk to HR,’ or ‘I’ll get back to you.’”

After many rejections, she decided to start her work outside at Mint Springs Valley Park in Crozet, a place where her mother would bring her as a child back when she was in a full body cast.

“I got injured from a spinal tap, the doctor did not hold me down. I went in for an ear infection, and they thought I had just a common cold at first, but he wanted to check me for meningitis, so he gave me a spinal tap. Instead of having another nurse hold me down, he just stuck the needle on my back and handed me back to my mother and said ‘I paralyzed your daughter,’ and my mother was like, ‘What do you mean?’ She wasn’t restrained?’ So the needle went in the wrong part,” Sims said.

The needle broke in her back when she was just 10 months old, and now, people call her an inspiration online.

“I want to be more than an inspiration, I want to show my inspiration. In order to for me to do that I need to receive help,” Sims said.

To make her dream a reality, she wants her very own spa, something she says property owners are skeptical about in her experience.

“It doesn’t matter if your credit is good, they still look at me as a liability,” Sims said. “They wouldn’t even give me a loan, so I have to work it in other ways.”

Now, she’s taken her story to TikTok, where millions tune in to see her resilience. One of those followers just happens to be R&B star Mary J. Blige, who shared some words of encouragement with Sims.

“When Mary J. Blige said ‘Yeah you’re important,’ I was like, ‘Oh, I really am important, my family was right,’” Sims said.

Her nephew Matthew Sims and neighbor Jacob Barker both believe she is capable of being a business owner, even with her different set of abilities.

“There’s nothing that she can’t do,” Matthew said.

They jokingly shared memories of her playing basketball better than them.

“I just see her across the street, and she can do more than I can do,” Barker said.

“My children, you know, they look at me as their role model. They say, ‘There’s nothing that my mother cannot do. She can do everything except she does it different than you, and that makes her unique,’” Sims said.

If you want to support Sims in getting her salon or attend her upcoming spa party click here.

Her TikTok handle is @1Uniquechairgirl.

India's 'A What Party'
India's 'A What Party'(wvir)

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