My name is Adam – I’m 24 years old and have been blind since birth.
Since the fall of 2016, I have worked at Mercedes-Benz of Boston and in the corporate office for Herb Chambers, a company with 56 dealerships that sell and service a wide variety of foreign and domestic vehicles across New England. The dealership where I work in Somerville, Massachusetts, is one of three Mercedes-Benz dealers in the Herb Chambers group.
I have been interested in cars since I was in preschool. I have always been curious to know what kind of cars people drive – including the year, make, model and color – and what it means. If people drive a full-size SUV or van, they would have more than one kid. And if they downsize to a smaller car, that usually means their kids are getting older. I am observant to every detail of cars from the interior to the exterior – whether it’s a Stanley Steamer or a 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan.
How am I able to learn about cars without being able to see? I remember details of what people drive currently or in the past, do internet research, listen to car reviews on YouTube and check out cars at dealerships and auto shows. I also listen to podcasts, like Car Talk, a show on National Public Radio that was hosted by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, “America’s funniest auto mechanics.”
I enjoy learning about car culture around the world. I have been in many cars – including some that were manufactured before World War 1. In my lifetime, there have been seven cars in my immediate family and we have gotten many years out of them – so I know which cars are great, safe, reliable and the best vehicles to buy, as well as which ones to avoid. Aside from the seven long-term cars I have had at home, I’ve also ridden in 35 rental cars in the North American, European, and Caribbean markets. Over the years, with all 42 cars I mentioned, I have learned the pros and cons of each that people should look for when buying a new or used vehicle.
On the Road to a Career in Cars
In 2010, I enrolled in the secondary program at Perkins School for the Blind. While there, I got a BrailleNote Apex – a new note taker with built-in internet. I was able to research cars independently without a sighted person having to read me the information. Once I got my first iPhone and was comfortable with it, I started listening to car reviews on YouTube.
A year – and two internships at nonprofit organizations later – I decided to do what I love for work. I began searching for an internship that would allow me to pursue my love of cars.
I researched local car dealers and sent letters with my resume to the general managers. In my research, I learned that Herb Chambers is the best automotive group to work for in the greater Boston area. With that in mind, I set out to get references from people that I know that also know Herb – he’s a supporter of Mass Eye and Ear and the Boston Celtics, and I was able to tap into contacts there.
At one point, I had three interviews in one week – two of which were at Herb Chambers dealerships (Mercedes-Benz of Boston and Herb Chambers Toyota of Boston).
I was soon hired for an internship – I was responsible for researching Mercedes-Benz cars and making quizzes for the sales staff. And that position helped me secure my current job: I work 20 hours a week writing blogs, helping people understand why Mercedes-Benz cars are some of the best vehicles on the market.
I’m really happy with my job.
Adam Roberge graduated from Perkins School for the Blind’s Secondary program in 2015, then attended the Threshold Program at Lesley University for two years. He graduated in May of 2017 with a major in business. He is currently in Lesley’s Transition Year program and works at Mercedes-Benz of Boston in Somerville, Massachusetts.