With his car keys on the ground, Donald Beyette was in a bit of a jam.
He could struggle and try to pick up the keys, or try to convince a stranger to get close enough to pick the keys up for him.
“Waiting for someone else to do something for you sucks,” Beyette said. “It just does.”
Beyette’s left arm was busy using a cane and his right arm was too short, even with the help of a grabber, to reach anything on the ground or a high shelf.
What began as a bad day turned into the birth of Beyette’s invention. Using an American-made cane, some of the strongest fishing line he could find and some other materials, Beyette began work on what would become the Grab-A-Cane, a cane and grabber combination strong enough to hold a person up and precise enough to pick up a dime.
Six prototypes and $18,000 later — $5,000 each from the Blue Water Angels and the Tuscola County Economic Development Corp, and $8,000 of his own — Beyette is aiming to get his Beyette and his Grab-A-Cane are competing in Walmart’s Get On The Shelf, an online contest which invited businesses and individuals to submit products that are not already sold by Walmart.