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.  



  1. Hi Jen, I am praying that Kimmie and her parents will be taking a trip to the EEOC and soon. Unlawful termination of a person with a disability is illegal. I will be praying for her and your family. Many Blessings and love, Amy

  2. Thank you, Amy! Yes, you're absolutely correct about the legalities. That's one of the other reasons I'm trying not to share too many details just in case. I'll pass on the love and prayers to Kimmie. XO

  3. Jen,

    I'm so sorry that your sister in law had to go through that. As a mother to a special needs child, and an advocate for the special needs population, hearing stuff like this makes me sick! If more people would take the time to get to know a person for who they are, not for what they're diagnosed with, they would realize they have been missing out on potential amazing friends (or co-worker in your sister in law's case). I have seen first hand the way some treat those with special needs. Thankfully more people are being educated at a young age about people who are different from us and instances like your sister's are becoming less. I'm not happy with less. I'll be happy when those who are not like everyone else get the same treatment. I'm sorry for going off on a rant, but I'm very passionate when it comes to individuals with special needs. Please give your sister in law a hug for me and reassure her that not all people are like the ones she had to deal with at her job! And, kudos to you for being a support system for her! xoxoxo

    P.S. Mr. Wonderful says him ;)

    1. Marlene, thank you so much for your heartfelt words. Your journey with your daughter always brings tears to my eyes, and your passion and advocacy is something I hope infects those around you. I will pass on all your love to Kimmie, and let her know you have her back in dark alleys. Wassup Mr. Wonderful! XOXO

  4. I love you guys - ALL OF YOU!!!! Sending you prayers and loving thoughts from the most beautiful and pure place on earth, the Lord's Colorado Rocky Mountains! xooxo cindy

    1. Cindy, thank you so much for the love and prayers! We appreciate them so much. *Now I will sing* COLORADO ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH! XOXO