- China City of America mulled for New York — with $65M tax dollars
- Yemen defense ministry rocked by suicide bomber, gunfire
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- Mystery deepens over radioactive cobalt-60 stolen in Mexico
- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
Deaf theater staff member inspires customers, colleagues
It’s a normal Friday night at the movies in mid-December. The after-work and after-school crowds make their way in from the biting cold to sample one of the many flicks that flow out of Hollywood so prodigiously this time of year.
They stop by the concession stand for the requisite popcorn and soda and are likely to receive a dose of inspiration along with their order. All thanks to Jivan Petit, a “concessionist” on the night shift at the AMC Loews Georgetown 14 theater on K Street Northwest, where he has worked for five years.
He is quick with a smile, fast on his feet and never makes a customer wait. He scoops the corn, pours the drinks and hands out the change with evident pride and satisfaction in his work.
The 30-something Mr. Petit has been deaf since he was 1 year old, save for being able to sense some vibrations. He was born in India and adopted by a French couple, Michel and Marlene Petit, as an infant. He lost his hearing when he contracted meningitis and a high fever shortly after his adoption.
Mr. Petit ended up in the United States in the 1980s after his father moved the family here to take a job.
Many people struggle using a second language, especially those in service-oriented jobs, in which communication with customers is constant. For Mr. Petit, whose native language is French, that challenge is compounded by his hearing impairment. He takes this, like other obstacles he faces, in stride.
“It depends on if they speak too fast. I told them that I’m deaf and please note [their] order,” Mr. Petit explains, writing answers to questions posed to him on a small notebook he keeps by the cash register.
He asks customers to use the same notebook to jot down orders he can’t quite make out by reading lips.
“Sometimes people gesture to me what’s their order,” he writes, adding that some people are too impatient to write a note. “I can’t blame them. I respect them. I’m OK and positive.”
Wayne Morgan, an AMC general manager, has observed the way customers interact with Mr. Petit.
“They see him as a hardworking guy who means well, and it makes their trip here even more unique and memorable,” he says.
“He can bridge the communication gap. Customers get drawn to him very easily. I see them come through and give him a high five,” says Jacob Jochum, who has worked with Mr. Petit over the past few months.
Justin Scott, director of corporate communications for AMC Theaters, estimates that “a small percentage of AMC associates have a known or visible disability. It equates to an average of approximately one person with a known or visible disability at each theater.”
“We recognize that it’s difficult to innovate or truly serve a diverse guest population without reflecting that diversity in our associate base,” he adds.
Mr. Petit, who has twice been honored as employee of the month at the theater, explains in an e-mail that he has been able to teach his fellow employees, not through words, but by example.
About the Author
Stephanie Green is an arts and culture reporter for The Washington Times and, with Elizabeth Glover, the co-author of Green and Glover, the paper’s personalities column. Before joining The Times, Stephanie was a reporter for the Alexandria Times and a contributing writer and editor of Capitol File magazine. Her work has also appeared in Washingtonian. Stephanie worked on C-SPAN’s 2006 ...
- Times announces newsroom layoffs
- Deaf theater staff member inspires customers, colleagues
- Disney's latest breaks barriers, to viewers' delight
- BOOKS: 'Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky'
- Sage Advice
Latest Blog Entries
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- 'Harry Potter' and 'Hunger Games' fans debate over political messages in films
- Democratic infighting erupts with squabble over entitlements
- Young and healthy millennials create risky imbalance by shunning Obamacare
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Allen West warns Obamas backdoor gun control is moving forward
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Susan Rice slams Russia, China on human rights
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.