thank you in sign languageThis past Sunday was less than stellar for me. I had some complications with some former caregivers and the whole caregiver situation that has been so incredibly stressful over the last few months felt like it was pressing against my soul. It was a rare day when I acknowledged that I don’t like always being so dependent on other people to meet my basic needs and that I wish I had more people in my life that have nothing to do with my disability. Some days I find myself wondering if my life is ever going to be significantly different than it is right now. After giving myself a few hours to breathe and be with my emotions I decided that it was time for a distraction. I was getting hungry, and ordering a pizza is not something I usually do. But I love ordering take out. For me, it’s a treat. I justified spending the money by reminding myself that whatever I ordered would probably last me three or four meals. Yeah, that was logical. Grin. I really wanted a pizza.

A Google search for the current deals brought me to the Domino’s website. They had about ten options to choose from, and their special was that you could get any two of those options for $5.99 each. I ordered a medium pizza with their white sauce, sausage and pineapple for the toppings and an order of garlic breadsticks. Perfect. I know. Most people would say that combination is beyond weird. But I like it.

About 45 minutes later, the doorbell rang, and the delivery guy was there with my food. He smiled as he handed me the boxes and I gave him the money I owed. As I turned to put the boxes on the table, I said, “I would like $2 back, please.” It took me a minute to make sure the boxes weren’t going to fall. I didn’t want to eat pizza and breadsticks off the floor. When I turned back to him, I noticed he hadn’t moved, and he was looking at my face pretty intensely. All of the sudden it hit me that he was deaf.

When I was young, I attended a summer camp for kids with disabilities for several years. There were kids there from all walks of life and they had various disabilities. I had no idea at the time that those experiences would be partly what prepared me for my future career. While I was at camp, I learned just enough sign language to be dangerous. So, I asked the driver for change again. But this time, I held up two fingers and made a circular motion on my chest with the palm of my hand. That is the sign for “please” in sign language. His smile could have lit up Times Square on New Year’s Eve. He gave me two one dollar bills. “Thank you,” I said in sign.

“You’re welcome.” He spoke it out loud. He took the time to give my service dog a good petting before he left.

My mind was in overdrive as I filled my mouth with cheesy goodness. I was so impressed. How did this guy convince the manager of the pizza place that he would be successful in a direct service position? What had he done in the past? What was he doing now? Was he in school, and had a job delivering pizzas like a lot of students do? Did he like delivering pizzas? There was so much I wanted to know and I knew it was highly unlikely that my questions would ever be answered.

The experience kept playing in my head as I lay in bed that night as I laid in bed. I wondered if the delivery guy every struggled like I had earlier in the day. Did he worry that people would not understand him? Did customers ever complain because they said he could not communicate well enough? I wondered how many people gave him a hard time and in what context. I have been around enough people with disabilities to know that most of us struggle with those kinds of issues sometimes.

But, the thing is, he was out there. He had accommodated his disability enough that he could do his job, and do it successfully. He kept going. Good for him.

I don’t believe that it was a coincidence that this guy, in particular, delivered my pizza a few days ago. I think God might have known I needed a reminder not to let myself sink too low and to keep going.

Who knew that ordering takeout was going to give me such a pick me up?