King's restaurant extends hand to hearing-impaired patrons
The waitresses fumbled with their fingers for a while, trying to figure out how to sign phrases like “Welcome to King's” and the words Pepsi and Mt. Dew.
“I know. I'm nervous, too,” said general manager Jim Pochedly. “Spelling is a little difficult, but the phrases are simple.”
Little by little, as fellow waitress Emily Gabriel took them through some of the common things they say to customers, the workers gained confidence.
And by March 28, when the King's Family Restaurant near Delmont holds a fundraiser for the Westmoreland Association of the Deaf, Pochedly and Gabriel hope the waitresses will be able to communicate a bit with their hearing-impaired customers.
“They're just going to be excited you can communicate with them,” Gabriel said. “They'll truly be excited that you're learning.”
Gabriel, 21, of Slickville taught about 40 of the restaurant's employees some basic sign language last week as part of a class project.
While Gabriel is a physician assistant major at St. Francis University in Loretto, she minors in sign language. Signing is something she picked up as a volunteer in Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children, just north of Greensburg, where her mother worked.
As part of her sign language class, Gabriel needed to teach basic signing to a small group.
She thought of her part-time job at King's, where hearing-impaired customers sometimes come in, and asked Pochedly if she could teach a few waitresses.
Pochedly loved the idea.
“I thought, ‘Wow, what an opportunity,' ” he said. “Let's go as far as we can.”
Not only did he want all of the wait staff trained, he decided to hold a Dine and Donate event for the Deaf Association so the employees can put their training to use.
The restaurant will donate a portion of the checks on March 28 when association members, their friends or family members present a special Dine and Donate coupon.
Harry Marchese, president of the recently formed Westmoreland Association of the Deaf, said he is delighted with Gabriel's project.
“I am surprised and impressed that Emily is training the staff sign language,” Marchese said. “It is a great opportunity for them to be more involved in the deaf community. We need more interpreters in Westmoreland County, and it is much appreciated when people want to communicate with the deaf.”
He said the donations from King's will help the group's effort to provide a social outlet for the deaf, as well as provide students studying American Sign Language an opportunity to practice and get familiar with the deaf culture.
During the training, Gabriel explained to the staff that the deaf can lip-read only about 30 percent of what a person says, so knowing some sign language is important in assisting with communication.
She taught them typical phrases that they use with customers.
They learned, “Hi, My name is,” and then how to “finger spell” their names using the sign language alphabet.
She worked with them on welcoming customers to King's and asking what they wanted to drink and eat.
They learned how to ask if the food is good and whether they want a refill or a take-out box.
Pochedly said he doesn't expect the staff to have full-blown conversations in sign language.
“If you know how to say, ‘Hi, my name is,' you'll get smiles,” he told the group.
Gabriel worked with one of her professors to put together a DVD of the signs so the staff can practice before the big day.
Pochedly said he hopes the restaurant will make its hearing-impaired customers more comfortable and help Gabriel, too.
“We're taking care of getting her an ‘A,'” he said.
Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Corbett rips Wolf tax proposals during Hempfield campaign stop
- Missing Southwest Greensburg man found dead at crash site in Bell
- Laurel Mountain State Park ski plans will go to Ligonier Township supervisors
- The real Captain Phillips brings story of piracy to St. Vincent College
- Former Ligonier Township supervisor accused of abusing position, viewing porn on the job
- Redstone gets $90K grant for safety upgrade
- $10K grants will help people purchase homes in Monessen
- WCCC changes dual-enrollment policy
- Mt. Pleasant man injured when tractor hit by vehicle
- Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County upgrades emergency communications plan
- Physicist found joy in family, friends, work, wine