My boss helped me learn a lot about the deaf culture, the way they communicate and express themselves. Did you know that a deaf person cannot whistle because it’s hard for him or her to distinguish sounds. Except Robert, he is extraordinary and whistles everyday. Later, I learned this is his way of relaxing and he was determined to learn how to whistle when he was diagnosed as deaf. Robert’s family enrolled him to a public school and his siblings taught him how to pronounce words. Eventually, he worked twice as hard to speak and trained his ears to distinguish sounds. As a matter a fact, he hears better than me with the hearing device and I’m proud of him.
Growing up as a deaf person was not easy for Robert. When he was little, his mother thought he wasn’t going to make it to college and possibly work as a janitor. Robert later confessed he felt motivated after hearing his mother’s opinion,he finished his degree at a public university and moved far away from his family to live independently. That’s amazing, not sure if I would do the same.
Robert is one of the hardest working individual I’ve ever met. The fact that he is deaf, communicates verbally, knows ASL sign language, and works as a Human Resources Specialist is a skill that not many deaf individuals have mastered. Robert arrives to work an hour extra every morning to prepare for his primary duties and is determined to help everyone no matter how tirelessly he works. He works overtime and weekends too.
I feel exhausted from wearing my hearing devices after eight hours. Imagine how he feels. Being deaf in one ear and wearing a hearing device on the other ear. I can tell he gets tired after speaking a lot because he tries his best to speak and communicate normal like a hearing person. Sometimes I would get mad him, he pronounces better than me and has no accent. Why must I have an accent!
Luckily, he didn’t need to answer the phone because I did it for him both English and Spanish. I dealt with the walk-in customers too. I’ll never forget the day when an old lady arrived to work and told him to speak better in English because she could not understand what he was saying. I had to step in and defend him. I didn’t like the way how this lady was treating my boss. After she walked away, Robert told me he felt offended for the first time in his life. My response to him was “believe it or not, I am reminded about my disability everyday, ignore her words. Besides she needs to get her hearing checked because I can hear your words very well.”