I dropped Natasha, Nikita and Sharmila at Stanford for their campus visit. I had another hour and a half at hand. So, I headed to University Avenue in Palo Alto, parked the car and started walking. The idea was to sit down at Starbucks and observe all the people walking by or talking excitedly about their next new idea to start a startup.
It was then that I saw the sprawling Apple Store. Tempted by the possibility they might have some iWatches on display, I walked in. They did not. So, it was a pretty short stay inside the the store. But I saw something that made me feel really good about Apple.
As I started heading back to the door, I noticed a young lady wildly gesticulating (or what seemed like wild gesticulations) to a young man facing her. The young man had the unmistakable Apple employee blue shirt on. My first thought was an impatient or maybe even an irate Apple customer trying to explain something to him.
Except, as I came closer to them, I noticed he started doing the same. And none of them were speaking!!! In a flash it dawned on me that it was a customer who was bereft of the power of speech. And Apple actually had a sales agent handy who could converse with her through whatever hand language it is that people bereft of the power of speech speak with!!
I absolute froze in my steps. Clearly among the three of us, I was the one dumbfounded. Eventually, I came to my senses and proceeded to the door again. At the door, I did turn my neck around and perhaps, rather rudely, stared at the two for some time for a few moments. I recognize the rudeness of the act. But the moment was too powerful not to be taken in deeply.
It is one thing to make arrangements for people on wheelchairs. But to make arrangements for people who cannot talk at a retail store, that is something else. Not sure how many retail chains do this. If they do, hats off to them.
Today, I doffed my imaginary hat to Apple’s respect and sensitivity to differently abled human beings.