Blind Monrovia student creates Braille menus for local restaurants

ByJosh Haskell and Armando Barragan KABC logo
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Blind Monrovia teen creates Braille menus for restaurants
A blind high school student in Monrovia decided to create braille restaurant menus so visually impaired customers can be more independent.

MONROVIA, Calif. (KABC) -- There's a new kind of menu at Rudy's Mexican Restaurant in Monrovia. Café Mundial also has a unique new menu.

The Cool Kid behind this new menu style is Temple City High School senior Mason Fessenden.

Mason's mission is to create Braille menus for local restaurants. He says it ultimately gives customers who are visually impaired, like he is, a more pleasant and independent experience.

"Before the menus, I felt sort of like I wasn't included," Mason said. "I was excluded from what was on the menu. I heard my parent's voices."

Tired of relying on others, Mason came up with the idea as part of a school project.

He's even getting paid through a grant. His first step was to take his idea to his favorite restaurants in his hometown, like The Diplomat, in Monrovia.

"What makes him a Cool Kid and the coolest kid is because he comes up with these ideas," said Joey Kouchakian of The Diplomat. "It was all his idea, and for him to do it from A to Z, and present it to us, it was such an honor."

Mason's mom Martha said he's overcome a lot of challenges in his young life.

"He was born premature, three months premature," said Martha Fessenden. "There were a lot of obstacles, said he would never, talk, walk or read Braille. Now he's 18 years old and he's doing all the above and so much more."

Mason even launched his own company. called Clarity Menus and More. He plans on taking his menu making skills beyond the San Gabriel Valley once he graduates high school in June. He plans on attending Citrus College.

Based on how friendly he is, his mother says he won't have any trouble finding clients.

"I call him the mayor of Monrovia," she added. "He knows everyone. He remembers everybody's name. If he hears your voice once, he will never forget you."