Having a broken computer can be frustrating. Not having the words to explain it, can be maddening.
So, when Best Buy General Manager Jendie Getty noticed that deaf customers at her Decatur, Illinois, store were having a difficult time communicating their needs with employees, she was determined to make a change.
“I want to make sure my staff mirrors our community, and if we have these customers who can’t communicate anywhere comfortably, I wanted to be that place that they can come to and feel at home,” Jendie said.
In walked Alyssa Ingenito, a radiography student who was looking for a part-time job. Alyssa had just learned American Sign Language (ASL) on a whim after she signed up for class thinking it would be an easy A. She didn’t just ace it, she fell in love with it.
“After class, I would go home and teach myself things,” Alyssa said. “I think we take for granted being able to talk to people like we do, and I wanted to do my part to make sure that the deaf community was well represented.”
Alyssa’s ASL skills and compassion were exactly what Jendie was looking for, so she immediately hired her for a customer service position. That was nearly a year ago.
“We’ve seen other families from the deaf community come in and ask for Alyssa right away because they’ve been referred,” Jendie said. “The cool thing is that Alyssa is teaching ASL to other employees, including myself.”
Gone are the days of giving customers pen and paper to write down their requests. Now, it’s a human connection made possible by Alyssa.
“To be able to help a customer just makes my day,” Alyssa said.
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