Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finding Value in the Valuable

Yes, I've been under a rock!  I'm so sorry I've been away from my blog for so long.  Honestly, this isn't the piece I thought I'd write as my return, yet when you read it, I think you'll understand why I couldn't go on another minute without telling you what's on my heart and mind. 

It takes a lot to get my dander up.  I’d like to think I’m pretty reasonable and even tempered.  Unless you degrade or hurt a friend or my family, then we have a problem.

My sister-in-law, Kimmie, is the sweetest thing on two feet.  Huggable, kind, and funny she’s overcome great obstacles in her years on the planet to carve out a niche as a woman living with Asperger’s.  Her life with high functioning autism has been difficult, yet she wouldn’t want you to know that about her.  She’d want you to know she adores her cat, is excited about being a first time aunt to twins, and is a hard, dependable worker.  Sorry, my mistake.  She was a hard, dependable worker until she was fired on Monday.

The owner of a chain of stores Kimmie worked for hired a new manager at her location.  For some reason we cannot seem to dissect, this manager, who had not been on the job very long, decided Kimmie was not a valuable employee.  You see, that’s difficult to grapple with because she was always on time, completed tasks required and extras requested, ran the cash register, and did I mention she had worked at this location for ten years?  A decade full of managers saw her worth and not a girl with autism.  They found her to be a treasured employee.  Funny how the only thing that changed in ten years was the man wearing the manager nametag, not Kimmie. 

Although I’d LOVE to spill the beans and tell you the name of the chain of independently owned stores you shouldn’t patronize, its street address, and so many other details of Kimmie being treated poorly that leave me livid, I won’t.  I promised my mother-in-law I’d keep my trap shut.  Gosh, that was a hard thing to swear.  Quiet is not in my DNA.  What is in my bones is my inability to tolerate a person with special needs being discarded.  A woman who excelled at her job, yet—gosh, I don’t know—was special and that was the problem? Can you tell I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it? 

As my family rallies around my sister, I ask you take a moment to notice employees in the businesses you frequent.  You will find many with challenges obvious to the eye, and perhaps not so evident.  Thank them for their hard work.  Compliment them to managers if you experience wonderful service.  Kimmie would want you to do that.  Not for her sake, but to honor the many people that rise above their challenges each and every day to make something positive happen for themselves and others.