On Tuesday of last week I started my new job as a checkout operator at my local supermarket and had my first experience with a Deaf person, outside of the people I’ve been introduced to through learning BSL.
On my first shift on the till (without supervision) I was asking an older female customer if she needed any help with her packing when she turned to me and indicated to me that she was deaf. Being my first day on the tills, I was a little nervous, but it was fantastic to be able to communicate with the customer and ask her if she could sign, and whether I could help with her packing in sign.
The customer asked me whether I had been signing for long, and I explained that I was just learning (as the young guy on the till opposite stared open mouthed at the exchange). After the customer had paid for her shopping, she asked if she could have cash-back, which I did for her, and she told me before leaving that it had been the first time she was able to ask at the tills, rather than having to walk around to the cash points at the store.
I was so happy that I was able to help the customer in a way that no one else previously had, and that knowledge made the last hour of my shift fly by. At the end of my shift, my supervisor came over and said that she had received some feedback, as it was my first shift I was obviously apprehensive that I’d done something wrong, but it turns out the lady had written a note at customer services, thanking me for being so helpful and suggesting they put a sign on my till to say that I was able to sign.
So a fantastic first experience with using the little sign language I know, to help out a customer (and make a good impression on my boss at the same time!) at work.
Leading on from that, I begin my pre-level 2 lessons this Thursday, which should hopefully prepare me for getting back into sign for level 2 lessons starting in October, and hopefully a lot more blogging!
Pre-level 2 lasts 6 weeks, although unfortunately I missed the first lesson, it will hopefully give me back the confidence to sign and a taste of what’s to come in level 2, which by all accounts is a lot harder than the skill level required for level 1.
So wish me luck, and I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on how it goes.