Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Your Accessibility Conscience

Deaf Mom Karen Putz Featured Guest at Readers’ Café

Filed under: Living with a disability, Readers Cafe — by Glenda at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Karen Putz

Hi and welcome to the freshly remodeled Readers’ Café – the place to gather and to share.

With the remodeled café, the plan is to interview and chat with a featured guest on some aspect of disability and/or accessibility, and then have readers join in the discussion.

Today’s featured guest is Karen Putz, the Deaf mom who was denied service at her local Steak & Shake drive thru because she didn’t place her order through the speakers, which she can’t use due to her disability. Her story was covered by two TV stations and has received attention by the blogosphere. Most blog commenters have been supportive of Karen’s actions to go public with her fight for her rights, some do not fully understand what life is like when you’re Deaf and require some gentle disability awareness training, and a few others have been complete…well, sadly, there are still people in today’s society that need major attitude adjustments!

Today I would like to give Karen the opportunity to update us on her story, dispel some of the misperceptions about being Deaf, and how she is using social media to share her story and to advocate for her rights.

I invite you to come in, relax and join in the conversation. Hit your internet browser’s REFRESH button to see new comments as others join in the conversation. All that I ask is that you respect others and keep it relatively family-friendly. Also, keep in mind that this is a public space, so share what you feel comfortable sharing publicly.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.

Trackbacks

  1. DeafPulse.com - the one-stop pulse for all Deaf-related news and blogs.
  2. A Deaf Mom Shares Her World » Steak and Shake–Looks Like This Touched A Nerve

135 Comments »

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

Hello Karen and welcome to Readers’ Cafe. Thanks so much for being the first featured guest. I’m excited about this new format and am hoping everything runs relatively smoothly. However, I should mentioned that snow is falling heavily and, if I suddenly disappear, it means power has gone off again. If that happens, I guess we’ll continue chatting at a later date.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

Hi Glenda! We’ve got snow coming down hard here in Chicago as well. I’m actually done with winter and looking forward to spring!

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

Yes, definitely looking forward to spring! Enough of the white stuff.

Karen, let’s begin with you giving us update. I know you had a meeting with the corporate people. How did that go? Where do they see as the remedy or next step?

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

Hello Glenda, Karen

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

Hello Glenda and Karen and everyone… just joining in and lurking.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

Hi Darrell, thanks for joining us on this snowy day.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

Hi Jim and Darrell, thank you for joining tonight.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

Welcome Jim!

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 4:16 pm

nice to see everyone

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

Yesterday, I received a handwritten note from the Director of Communications. In the note, he thanked me for meeting with their staff. I am now waiting for Steak ‘n Shake to get back to me and let me know what direction they plan to go in.

We are asking to meet again to discuss some access options for their restaurants and training programs for their employees.

The ball is in their court and we hope they run with it in an accessible direction.

Comment by rlewing

February 6, 2008 @ 4:18 pm

Hi, just stopped by.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:20 pm

and, of course, you’d be available to provide said training, correct?
:)

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:22 pm

Yes, we offered that. I do have some ideas to share with them. I have met with the owner of “Inclusion Solutions” and have experienced an accessible drive thru. I’d like to see Steak ‘n Shake adopt the “Order Assist” system which is relatively inexpensive and can be integrated into any drive thru.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

Welcome rlewing.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

Sounds like an interesting solution, Karen. Any idea why more drive-thrus aren’t using that system?

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:26 pm

Hi Rlewing– I like your garden stuff blog!

Comment by rlewing

February 6, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

Thanks and hi.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:29 pm

Glenda, I’m not sure. I think part of the problem is that fast food places think there is “no problem.”

When we talked to the Steak ‘n Shake people, they told us that I was the first person they knew of who experienced trouble with the drive thru.

But another Bolingbrook deaf mom had trouble at the same Steak ‘n Shake over the summer. The problem is that management never knows about those who struggle at the drive thru because the orders are filled and they think all is well. The deaf or hard of hearing person goes home grumbling but nothing is communicated to headquarters.

I have heard from literally hundreds of deaf and hard of hearing people that they have struggled at drive thrus. Inclusion Solutions has documented over 6,500 cases of complaints through a survey they distributed.

It’s clearly time for a change and for accessibility to become a priority at the drive thru.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

I believe if they that system, they would bring in more money when they get more customers like us.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

Wow! Hopefully by you going public, drive thrus will begin changing.

Surprisingly [or perhaps not] several people have asked why didn’t you go inside to order your milkshake?

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

sometimes they dont see us as a target audience.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

Fantastic point, Jim!

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

If they don’t have the system, why should I go inside and spent my hard earned money when I can order through the drive-thru like anyone else?

That’s my thoughts on that question “Why didn’t you go in”. :)

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

Right Darrell, businesses tend to ignore the disabled market.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

Karen is my hero. :)

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

I have been using drive thrus for years. Like everyone else, I enjoy the convenience of being able to drive up to the window and not having to get out of my car in cold weather or when in a hurry. Like everyone else, I have that same right to choice–whether to use the drive thru or go inside.

Some people do not see it the same way. People actually left comments on my blog and on a website called The Consumerist that I should have gone inside and not attempted to use a system that required hearing.

To those people, I simply told them that as a human being, I have that same right to enjoy life and with accommodations according to the law– I can access the same things as anyone else.

Comment by rlewing

February 6, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

I agree with Darrel they fail to recognize the potential market.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

Hey Jim, that’s nice of you!

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

Well said, Karen. I couldn’t believe people asked that question. Like you aren’t entitled to same service as other drivers.

And that leads me to my next question:

Some unenlightened souls say you shouldn’t even be driving because you wouldn’t hear sirens coming, and thus, are a safety concern on the road. How do you know when to pull over for emergency vehicles?

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

I do have a difficult time with sirens. I cannot hear a siren unless it is right next to me. This means that I simply have to be extra aware when I’m driving and I check my mirrors.

When I’m the first car at a stoplight, I will check all sides before proceeding and I will often wait for the car next to me to make a move first before I go through an intersection.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

No doubt, you’re more aware than people people yakking on cell phones listening to iPods!

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

Another thing to keep in mind is that people with normal hearing have crashed into emergency vehicles.

Of all the deaf and hard of hearing friends that I know, one of them did have a crash into an ambulance because she couldn’t hear them coming. She was also very distracted by talking to another passenger– a very human thing. It wasn’t necessarily the lack of hearing that made her crash, but the lack of alertness too.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

I also have trouble hearing sirens but I don’t have trouble seeing flashing lights. I am able to see and notice more than hearing people. I am sure Karen will agree that her eyes are her best asset since people with hearing-loss can’t hear.

Comment by Diana

February 6, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

I am a friend of Karen’s. I am so happy that it happened to her! Because I am a fan of Starbucks at our local area. When they first open up, they had a screen where you can actually see your order and the total price. Now, I go there and it is not working, I was disappointed. I think all of the fast-food chain heard the news. I am hoping they are going to make it accomodate to our needs. It is not just for us but for those out there who have a hard time hearing the speaker too. I do more drive-up window since the birth of our twins.

Thanks Karen for doing this for all of us! One of us could have spoken up long time ago but I think we were all “waiting” for some one to do it?!

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

Loud radio or music makes hearing people more deaf and more blind while driving. But that’s my opinion. ;)

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

Yes Karen, at times we are all distracted disabled or not

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

It may surprise you that I steal my son’s Ipod and listen to John Denver! I have an adapter that pipes the music directly into my hearing aids.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

John Denver? I loved his voice. One of my favorite songs is “Sweet Surrender”.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

Did you say John Denver? I loved his voice. One of my favorite songs is “Sweet Surrender”.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

No doubt, Jim. And now vehicles have dvd players – another distraction.

Thanks Jim for your point about your eyes being a great asset. I admit I hadn’t considered that before. Similar to people who are blind rely on their hearing more.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

I love John Denver’s music. I like his unknown songs, such as Children of the Universe, The Higher We Fly and Song for all Lovers.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

Hi Diana, and welcome!

Jim, Sweet Surrender is one of my favs!

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

Karen, what don’t most people understand about being Deaf or hard of hearing? What are some typical barriers you face daily?

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:05 pm

Diana, I am hoping for change too. It is almost 20 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act–yes, I think it is time for access!

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:06 pm

Diana and Jim– feel free to share your answers as well.

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

It seems a lot of people think if a law is in place the rest (access) and other things will just happen

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

Depending on someone’s hearing level… barriers are different. I probably didn’t go through as much barriers as Karen’s or those who have worst hearing loss than I have.

However, barriers are there at many different levels.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:11 pm

Most people don’t understand that there’s a wide variety of different abilities to hear. I was born with normal hearing. I grew up hard of hearing but with a lot of lipreading, because sounds didn’t make sense to me. I could never use the phone while growing up. Yet, when people hear me talking, they assume I can hear more than I do. In reality, I can’t understand anything that is said via auditory means alone. And when those hearing aids come out, I can’t hear a single thing. Makes it easy to sleep at night!

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

Yes Karen.. one of the best benefits of being deaf is able to sleep without hearing anything. ;0 :)

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

Good point Jim and Karen. So solutions don’t work for all people who are Deaf or HOH. I think people don’t realize there’s such a range of hearing loss, and, hence, a variety of accommodation needed.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:21 pm

Here’s the thing though, accommodations don’t have to be expensive. The cheapest accommodation of all– is attitude.

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

well said Karen

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

Does sleeping so soundly make it difficult when you have kids?

Comment by James T Beaton

February 6, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

Yep.. attitude, paper and pen. Cheap and best way to make profits. :)

Comment by James T Beaton (Jim)

February 6, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

I had to come back and forgot to change my name LOL

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

Most definitely, Karen, it’s all about attitude!

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 5:26 pm

“Flashy lights” are wonderful for deaf sleepers. :)

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

When my kids were young, I used a baby cry light to alert me when they cried.

Now they’re all big kids and they never bother me at night anymore unless they’re sick, which is rare.

Sleep is a blissful thing now!

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

Karen, as a person with a disability, surely you unfortunately encounter annoying and discriminating situations frequently. What was it about this particular situation that made you decide to fight it rather than brush it off?

Comment by Lori-ann

February 6, 2008 @ 5:37 pm

Good evening everyone! It looks like a nice turn out tonight.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

Hey Lori-ann, welcome!

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

Hi Karen & Glenda. you guys are 2 fave bloggers of mine at Disaboom. Karen, so glad you spoke out abt this

Comment by Lori-ann

February 6, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

Great topic tonight Glenda! And one that sits close to my heart, as you know.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

And Jen, nice to see you. Welcome!

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

Well, it was a combination of things. So much of the service was horribly wrong. First, the manager was not willing to accommodate me despite several explanations of why the accommodation (ordering at the window) was necessary. Second, his attitude was absolutely awful. He treated me like a second-class citizen. Threatening to call the cops was just so way over the top.
Third, he refused to serve me. Had he argued and then still served me the shakes, I would have gone on my way and grumbled about the poor service. But to completely refuse to serve me and slam the window in my face–that angered me.

Last, and the most important reason of all– my ten-year-old son was with me. He is hard of hearing. When we drove away, he asked me, “Mom, are you going to be arrested??”

So that day, my son learned about the Americans with Disabilities Act, human rights and advocacy. He learned a precious lesson by watching his mom in action. He learned that it is ok to speak out, to advocate and to effect change.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:44 pm

Hi Jen and Lori-Ann– welcome!

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

Thanks Lori-ann! Perhaps you’d like to be a featured guest one week and share the “fun” you’ve had in getting services for K!

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

Hi Lori-Ann and Jen

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

I think it is something shocking still for a lot of people that those w/disabilites speak against injustice

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

Good for you Karen, so many times children are shown it is easier to give up rather then speak up.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

Wow Karen, that would be quite an experience for your son. I was thinking I may have let the guy call the cops, but yes, that may have frightened your son even more. What is he making of all it now?

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

Jen–what’s your screenname at Disaboom?

Comment by Lori-ann

February 6, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

Perhaps in time Glenda. The emotions tend to be a bit raw still and I’m not sure I could be nice about some things.

I admire your determination Karen and I thank you for paving the way for the children coming behind you.

I think it is a great lesson that your son has been able to learn first hand and he will be much stronger and more knowledgable in his ability to advocate for himself in the future. Self-advocacy is a goal I have for my own son and it is hard to imagine how those lessons will be taught.

Comment by anna

February 6, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

Reading back through some of the comments because I’m late to the party. I’m wondering do we owe it to our community to speak up when we encounter ADA violations. Like Karen said others have had probs., but they never got to management. Do we have a responsibility to educate the public?

BTW I’m mom to a severely disabled teenager.

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

Orbit is my SN on the website Karen

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

I think that we are responsible for educating, even just on a small scale

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

Glenda,

I did consider the idea of parking myself in that drive thru lane and letting him call the cops. I thought it through quickly and came to the conclusion that if I did that, I would look like a stubborn customer causing a ruckus. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and I knew I had the law on my side.

As I drove off to pick up my daughter from school, I was already blogging this whole thing in my mind. What an amazing tool a blog is!

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 5:56 pm

not everyone feels ok speaking out on a grand scale as Karen has

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

speaking out takes comfort w/ oneself, disability included

Comment by anna

February 6, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

But sometimes don’t we have to push the boundaries of our comfort zone for the greater good? Or to advocate for our children? I’ve had 15 years to get used to speaking up for what’s right. It’s still not easy for me, but I do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

I understand, Lori-ann!

Welcome Anna and great question! What is our responsibility to speak up when we are discriminated against? If we don’t, who will? If we do, how do we do it effectively ?

That leads to the next question for Karen: What steps have you taken so far to advocate for your rights?

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

Hi Anna–welcome!

Yes, I would like to see more people shouldering the responsibility in making sure that access happens. The more we all work together for all people with disabilities, the more we can see changes happening.

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

The way I see is that my speaking out may not change the situation for me, but for others

Comment by anna

February 6, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

right on, Jen!

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:05 pm

Jen, you’re right, not everyone wants to advocate on such a grand scale. I happen to have a background in advocacy. I worked in a Center for Independent Living for several years. I do lots of advocacy work for families through Hands & Voices. So advocacy is second nature for me. However, it required finding some courage from within because as you can see from my blog, I’ve had my character questioned, nasty comments were left and some attitudes flying around the ‘net were pretty crappy.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

I found it ironic this incident happened two days after Martin Luther King Jr Day. The disabled community still has a ways to go for equal rights and equal access.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

Well, Howard Rosenblum from the law firm, Equip for Equality has taken this on and is working with me to make some changes. Right now, we are in the talking stage with Steak ‘n Shake. We’ve met with the Director of Communications, Director of Operations, and the Director of Human Resources. We’ve outlined some changes that we’d like to see to make sure this doesn’t happen again to a single customer. The ball is in Steak ‘n Shake’s court.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

Karen, how are you remaining strong with all the crappy comments?

Comment by anna

February 6, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

It’s easier to fight ingorance than maliciousness, isn’t it?

Comment by Jen

February 6, 2008 @ 6:12 pm

I thought that too Glenda.
I’m fighting psychiatric hospitals here in NH after I was denied access as a wheelchair user, who also has motional issues

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:17 pm

Jen, I think it helps to have someone in your corner. Darrell and I went through some tough stuff and had no one who fully understood the complexities. Very stressful and discouraging.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:23 pm

Honestly, they didn’t bother me much. They’re coming from people who don’t know me. They’re also coming from people who have very little experience with deaf and hard of hearing people.

Many people on the internet questioned what *I* did to *cause* a manager to behave so out of character for a manager’s position. Even the Steak ‘n Shake team was puzzled by this manager’s behavior, because he violated every principle of customer service. I simply asked for shakes via an accommodation and the manager decided that he couldn’t serve that up.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

Jen, what is your plan to deal with the NH hospital?

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

That will not be good for the companies reputation in terms of customer service

Comment by anna

February 6, 2008 @ 6:26 pm

Funny, my reaction when I read your story was how on earth he had attained manager position with such poor customer (not to mention people) skills.

Comment by Jean

February 6, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

Hi Karen and gang,
This is neat. I normally don’t visit websites where people chat live, but this is neat. I was curious to know the latest in this Steak n Shake saga. Got it from reading ur comments.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

Nowadays, in order to make money, customer service is the ultimate importance.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

Yeah, I’ve been shocked by some of the comments. I wonder if the annoymity [sp?] of the blogosphere gives people license to be jerks. Would they really say those things in person?

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:32 pm

Welcome Jean! Thanks for joining us.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:33 pm

Darrell– I think there’s some in the business world who are watching the outcome of this. Just today, Slacker Manager picked up the story:
http://www.slackermanager.com/2008/02/steak-shake-discriminate.html

And on my blog, I have a list of others who are talking about it:

http://putzworld.blogspot.com/2008/01/steak-and-shake-looks-like-this-touched.html

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

Anna, what’s even more puzzling is that this manager is a trainer– he trains all the area restaurant employees on how to deliver customer service!!!

Comment by Jean

February 6, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

I hope you don’t mind if I temporarily change the subject. This may sound like a silly question, but it’s got me perplexed.
Since I’m new to this blogosphere, I’m analyzing the format. I noticed that when we submit comments, it’s numbered in the upper right hand corner. Logic tells me that it would be numbered chronologically by ones, but it’s not. E.g. There’s no pattern to this numeric system. Any explanations for this?

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

Hi jean–welcome!

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

I hope he gets more training, before training other employees or training is no longer part of his duties

Comment by anna

February 6, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

He sounds a little drunk on his own power (such as it is). I hope they make an example of him.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

Karen, sounds like things are starting to happen and to have a ripple effect. You’ve used social media, like blogs and Twitter, to tell your story. Besides the jerks, what kinds of responses or results have you experienced? How have you managed to keep up with all of it?

Comment by Lori-ann

February 6, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

Hopefully this was one of those days where he should have just stayed in bed and not an example of his usual customer service skills. I am sure there will be disciplinary measures to some extent.

I realize that is not necessarily your goal Karen, but it is the business world.

Comment by JulieAnn

February 6, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

Hi Karen! Everyone is making some valid points in regards to the denial of service by Steak N’ Shake. One thing I’d like to see with franchises and business owners alike is to see disability awareness training. I believe with the population of people with disabilities that we are “forgotten” until we hit their place of business and many do not know what to do.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

Jean, many comments are spam and get deleted. That is why the strange numbering.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

And Julieann, welcome! A round of virtual milkshakes for everyone!

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

People with all forms of disabilities are considered “invisible” by the mainstream world until one day when “money” and “corporate image” talks.

Comment by JulieAnn

February 6, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

I agree however we need to make ourselves more visible.. Karen just did!! Kudos to Ms. Karen!! I believe that a change needs to be made but it needs to be a STRONG POSITIVE change and in order to do that we need to be out there educating the whole public about disability awareness

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

Hi Julie! Yes, when we talked with Steak ‘n Shake, we learned that they literally had no policy in place to serve people with disabilities at the drive thru other than their general five point system (which would have worked if it was followed!). We want them to implement a policy and set up training for all of their restaurants.

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 6:55 pm

Lori-Ann, I have no idea if this manager still has a job or not.

Comment by Darrell

February 6, 2008 @ 6:57 pm

More awareness and training in this area will always be a benefit

Comment by Erica Ross-Krieger

February 6, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

Hi Glenda,
sorry to stop by so late, but just got done with clients for the day. Wanted to acknowledge Karen for stepping forward and you for the interview.

As the brand new owner of a soon-to-be-open Salad Creations franchise, and someone who walks with a cane, I am so aware of how we must train our manager and staff at the new store to provide quality customer service to every person who enters our store — either entering by phone for take out (including a new system for hearing impaired we are checking into) or by the front door (via walking, wheeling or any other means). Thanks Karen for strengthening my view that this is critical!

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

There is talk about various groups wanted to stop ADA Restoration Act of 2007 (H.R. 3195).

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

Ok Karen, I have one more question I have to ask: why milkshakes in the middle of winter?

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

Dang it, blame it on PMS!!!

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

;) Karen!

Welcome Erica.

Comment by JulieAnn

February 6, 2008 @ 7:08 pm

This sparks a thought… what about other franchises? small businesses? and the list could literally go on and on!

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 7:09 pm

Welcome, Erica– thank you for being aware of access issues and tackling them!

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

Karen, thank you so much for chatting with us today. This has been great, enlightening. I hope positive change results. As Dave Hingsburger said in a recent post, “The only apology worth anything is change.”

Comment by Erica Ross-Krieger

February 6, 2008 @ 7:12 pm

Glenda, I just tweeted that you’re doing a great job here:) I’d love to see a follow-up interview or post at some point as the story unfolds…

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 7:13 pm

Glenda, thanks for having me here. And thank you all for joining in tonight.

I appreciate all of your support on this issue. :)

Comment by Karen Putz

February 6, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

And before you all go, take a shake with you– it’s on me! ;)

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

Thank so much, Erica. I wasn’t sure how well this new format would work for Readers’ Cafe. But this was awesome. Thank you everyone for joining us. The next Readers’ Cafe will be February 20th, featured guest to be announced.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

Good night everyone

Comment by Elizabeth

February 6, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

Karen, I’m a stranger to the Reader’s Cafe, but I’d like to thank you for all your advocacy for the deaf community. My grandfather and mother have both been mostly deaf since reaching adulthood (with varying levels of hearing-aided ability), and, at 17, I am 70% deaf in one ear (without my hearing aid) with a high likelihood of losing much more of my hearing. My mother, a nurse by profession, has recently had to leave her field of work because of her increased hearing loss. The knowledge that there are strong people out there working to make the hearing community more easily navigable for the deaf renders my probable continuous hearing loss a lot less scary.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

Night Jim, thanks for coming.

Comment by Jim

February 6, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

You are welcome Glenda and thank you for hosting this. This was enjoyable and Karen did a wonderful job tonight.

Comment by Jean

February 6, 2008 @ 7:29 pm

Rats! I just put the kids to bed and now I see that it’s contagious. Everyone else is saying good night. Oh well! hope to catch you all at another time. I enjoyed this forum. Good night to all.

Comment by Glenda

February 6, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

Welcome Elizabeth, thanks for popping by.

Jim, thanks for your contribution tonight.

Jean, feel free to read awhile her. Hope you can join us for the next Readers’ Cafe in two weeks.

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