A MAN who was born missing the bottom half of his body has fallen in love with his childhood best friend – who insisted he’s not “half a person.”
Brody Roybal, 23, met his now-girlfriend, Menecis Garriga, 23, when the pair were in the same reception class together – and despite him missing his bottom limbs, he claims she never treated him differently.
The pair, who has gone viral on TikTok, became best friends and grew up together in Chicago, Illinois.
Brody refused to let his disability hold him back and learned to play hockey, dance, and cook without his legs.
He asked Menecis to prom and the pair quickly realized they had feelings for each other.
Their friendship blossomed into a romantic relationship, but Brody moved to Arizona to attend college so it was put on hold.
A year later, he returned home and the couple realized they couldn’t be apart and they made their relationship official in August 2018.
Brody, who is also a hockey player, said: “My parents taught me from a very young age to never put limitations on myself and to try everything I wanted to do.
“As I grow older I realize that my disability doesn’t require limitation.
“I try to look at everything with a positive mindset.”
Menecis, a university student, said: “A lot of the time people are scared of dating someone with a disability because it’s very new and they don’t know what it’s going to be like.
“But a lot of other things come before a disability.
“When I look at Brody I don’t see half a person.
“What he’s lacking in his body, he more than makes up for in his personality.
“He’s one of the kindest most caring souls I’ve ever met.
“He refuses to let anything hold him back – and I’ve never been happier.”
The couple first met as four-year-olds when they attended the same school and lived near each other.
Menecis said: “We were down the street from each other, we met on the first day of kindergarten.
“We went to all the same schools, and we were best friends and talked every day.”
Brody and Menecis then attended middle and high school together and remained friends until Brody asked her to go to their prom together.
She said: “We had an interesting relationship growing up, we went to the same clubs and were in the same classes – so we started talking.
“In middle school, we liked each other less because I was really nice to him.
“I think that was overwhelming to him because he was not used to people being nice to him so he didn’t know if I was being genuine.
“But I kept talking to him.
“In high school, we had lockers very close to each other so he would wait for me in the morning and evening when we put our stuff away or collected it to talk.
“I also hopped into the elevator and got him to talk to me and our relationship blossomed.
“He was always there for me no matter what and that really solidified it.
“He asked me to prom and that’s when I knew that we were something more.”
But Brody was moving away to Arizona to go to college to study communication in 2016 so they put their relationship on hold.
She said: “There was an understanding that there wasn’t going to be a big break up, we just decided to be together until summer was over and that was it.”
But a year later, Brody was invited to go to New York for a hockey tournament.
He saw Menasis and knew that they couldn’t be apart so officially asked her out in August 2018.
She said: “That’s when our relationship properly started and we’ve been together ever since.
“Because I knew him growing up, I know that he is more than his disability.
“I never put any limits on him and he’s never put a limit on himself.
“It hasn’t affected our relationship as much as people think It has.
“Just because you have something different it doesn’t mean that you can’t work around it.
“He does the cooking and I do the cleaning.
“We find ways to adjust.
“We also have amazing parents and they never let him not do anything.
“They show him he can do anything and my parents were adamant that no matter what you’re no different to anyone.
“As children, it was visible, and kids would point and stare at him.
“But it was the last thing that came to my mind.”
Brody said: “Life just has a crazy way of working out.
“We were so young when we met we were able to grow up together and really see how well we worked together.
“My disability was kind of the last thing on our mind because we’ve always put our focus into our things in order to build a strong relationship.
“Love always finds a way.”