Monthly Archives April 2012

Do You Want Customers With Disabilities?

    Posted in Disability Speaker, Thoughts and Beliefs    |    2 Comments

What follows is a tale of two businesses.  Both experiences occurred on the same day.  Both were given a fair shot at my business.  One succeeded greatly, and the other failed miserably.

Customers With Disabilities: Epic Failure

The cleaning of my teeth was finally finished when the dentist entered the room.  This was my first visit to this dentist, and while I’m not going to shame them by mentioning his name or the name of his practice, I will say that he has glowing reviews on several public opinion sites.  The dentist came in and within ten seconds of meeting him, he said the following:

When I saw you come in, I told the hygienist that you likely had poor dental hygiene, and if that was the case, you’d need to see me every two to three months instead of the regular six months.  It turns out you have great dental hygiene, but if that changes because you can’t brush your teeth or no one will help you, you’ll need to come back more often.

There are so many things wrong with his statement that I didn’t even respond until I returned home and called his office.  First, his snap judgement of me was dead wrong.  He assumed that I was unable to brush my teeth before he even talked to me.  This assumption led to several insulting remarks.  Second, the fact that he would tell me about his incorrect first impression is unbelievable.  Making a snap judgement is bad enough, but now you are going to insult me by telling me you assumed I wasn’t capable of caring for myself?  If you guessed wrong, keep it to yourself!  Finally, he wouldn’t let go of his initial assessment.  He guessed wrong, told me he guessed wrong, and then proceeded to try and validate his assessment by assuming that my disability would further limit me in the future.  While that is a possibility, there is no current evidence of that occurring.  He so badly needed his hypothesis to be right, so he further assumed problems that may or may not happen.  The dentist failed in so many ways, that I cancelled a future appointment with him, and will never go back.

(Epilogue: I found a FANTASTIC dentist after searching for a bit, and am very happy to refer anyone to Just for Grins in Keller, TX.  They are awesome!)

Customers With Disabilities: Wonderful Success

Customers With Disabilities DoorwayOn that very same day, I went to a branch of my bank to which I rarely go.  I was by myself, which meant no drive thru banking for me.  I gathered up my deposit info and rolled out of my van and up to the door of the bank.  Usually, when I approach a business that does not have a door opening button, I get to sit and wait until someone sees me and opens the door.  It can be a little humiliating, and that humiliation grows the longer I have to wait.  So, imagine my surprise when the door swung open just as I approached.  A man whom I’d never met before opened both sets of doors and greeted me kindly.  He introduced himself as Al, the bank manager!  He took my deposits to the back and processed them himself, so that I did not have to wait in line nor did I have to reach up to the tall counter where the tellers are located.  Upon leaving, he gave me his business card and said to call him any time I was coming up, and he would come open the doors.  I’ve already tested his promise on another occasion, and he was true to his word.  He’s the bank manager, yet he has time to open the door for me.  Greatness.

Which One Wanted My Business?

The answer is obvious.  The bank manager desires for me to continue banking with his branch and he shows me that desire by treating me so well.  The dentist was arrogant and rude, and he desperately needs MY Disability Awareness training seminar.  By the way he treated me, he showed me that he did not want me there.  I don’t remain in places where I’m not wanted.

So, the question goes to you.  Do you want my business?  Do you want customers with disabilities?  Then show them you want them.  Begin brainstorming ways to make your customers with special needs feel wanted.  Make your location more accessible, but more importantly, have an accessible attitude.  There is an entire untapped market of people with special needs, and this market will reward your efforts by remaining loyal to your accessible business.

Do you want customers with disabilities?  Then build an accessible business both physically and mentally.  Simple as that.

You Are Stronger

    Posted in General, Thoughts and Beliefs    |    5 Comments

Worship had already begun.  The lights were lowered, and we were all joined in praise.  From my vantage point, I could see a family walking down the aisle trying to find seats.  Normally, I wouldn’t have given them a second look, but there was a child in the family who caught my eye.  She was in a powered wheelchair, and looked frail.  I don’t know her age, nor her story, but I was glad to see her at church.  Her family found a row with a cutout spot for her wheelchair, and immediately joined in worship.

I watched the young girl for a few moments and my suspicions were confirmed.  She was weak, and looked to be in some pain.  I made a snap judgement, and began to feel sorry for her. Then, in the midst of my pity for her, the worship band began the first few chords of the next song.  Suddenly, the faces of her family members lit up, and they began to get excited.  The excitement was directed towards the young girl in the wheelchair.  She, too, seemed to brighten up.  I wanted to know why, so I continued to watch.  When the band came to the chorus of the song, she lifted her tired arms and sang as loudly as she could:

You are stronger you are stronger
Sin is broken you have saved me
It is written Christ is risen
Jesus you are Lord of all

Her praise was being expressed from the very depths of her soul.  We sang the next verse and chorus while she continued with her arms lifted high.  It was in the bridge of the song that she started to succumb to her body’s limitations, and her arms began to fall.  We began singing the bridge:

So let your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher

Hands Lifted in WorshipOver and over again, we sang those words.  As the young girl’s arms finally fell, her sister, who appeared to be just a few years older than she, grabbed her arms and lifted them FOR HER.  They continued in that pose until the song came to an end.

Stronger.  So often, we fall into the worldly habit of thinking we are in control.  We are strong enough to face this world due to how great we are.  We are led into false assumptions of our own endurance, and our overconfidence gets us into the worst situations.  We have declared our independence from God, and because of that we are destined to fail.

You know who was the strongest person attending worship that night?  It was the young girl with more special needs than I will ever have to encounter.  She knows that she has no strength on her own.  Her earthly body has failed her.  But, her resignation to that fact allows her a freedom that few ever get to experience.

When you have to rely on others for daily needs, as I do, you come to realize that there is a freedom in that reliance.  I know I cannot take care of all of my own needs, and in that, I am forced to rely upon someone else.  That reliance can easily then be translated to the spiritual need to rely upon God.  Any pride in my own physical prowess was thrown out the window a long time ago.  Good riddance.  That pride only slowed me down in my race towards God.  My surrender and reliance is my freedom.  I know I am not strong on my own, but I am infinitely strong in Him.

What melted my heart and produced tears in my eyes that night at church was that I was being taught a lesson of which I needed to be reminded.

A lesson of dependence.
A lesson of humility.
A lesson on how to be strong – taught by the physically weakest, but spiritually strongest person in the room.