Dayton Daily News

Let’s all just try to show a little respect, OK?

- By Shari Cooper Dayton writer Shari Cooper is a regular contributo­r.

All I want from people is for them to treat me with respect as they would anyone else, and if that requires a reasonable accommodat­ion in order to get things done, be OK with it.

I’m sure by now that many of you have heard or read about the incident that happened with Brandon Washburn, a man who’s deaf, and what he experience­d at a local Taco Bell restaurant a few weeks ago.

Brandon, who is 25, drove up to the drive-thru window to show a Taco Bell employee his order. His order was written on his cell phone, but then the employee denied service at the window. At this point, Brandon’s girlfriend begins to record the incident, and you can clearly see the employee being disrespect­ful, showing very poor customer service, and you can hear the employee saying, “It’s against company policy, I can’t do it.” Then, the employee slammed the window shut in Brandon’s face.

Bet you’re thinking: “This is a shame — no one should be treated this way.” You’re right. But as much as I hate to admit it, this isn’t uncommon.

Do you know how many incidents I’ve encountere­d with someone serving up bad customer service? It’s been so many, I’ve lost count.

When I go to a fast-food restaurant and order, I typically order by number to make it easier to understand, because of my speech impairment. After I order, an employee will always ask, “What did you say?” Then they laugh or mock me with other employees.

I was taught by my big brothers not to let anyone push me around — so I’m able to stand strong and ask for a manager. I will always get the respect a person should deserve, with or without a disability. What part of “number two” don’t they understand?

When paying for something with your hardearned money, respect should definitely be a part of customer service. If not, that’s a reason to make noise and let the world know what’s going on.

The Taco Bell employee eventually called the police on Brandon. Once the officer got there, it was explained to the employee how he was violating the Americans with Disabiliti­es Act. Since then, Taco Bell’s corporate office got wind of the story and fired the disrespect­ful employee. I heard there’s a now a sign on that Taco Bell’s window saying something to fact that they service all people with disabiliti­es.

At some point in everyone’s life you’ll encounter someone with a disability. All we want is respect as human beings.

Respect is so easy to give and doesn’t cost a thing — yet some just cannot seem to master this act of kindness. I’m not looking for anyone to go out their way for me. Matter of fact, I don’t like when people over-act trying to assist me. I don’t like that added attention. All I want is for them to treat me with respect as they would anyone else, and if that requires a reasonable accommodat­ion in order to get things done, be OK with it.

I’m happy Brandon’s story went viral. Do I think it will help? It will probably help for a hot minute; but until people are properly trained and educated on how to serve people with disabiliti­es, they will never really understand. Education is the key. I may never be able to change people’s perception of a person with disabiliti­es — but I and others will be able to have a say in the way we are treated.

 ??  ?? Cooper

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