This happened a few years ago, around the time I was 17. I had just started working at a small-ish cafe run by a well known family in our area.
I knew some people who had worked there before and they told me for the most part the owners were great, very chill and laid back when it was slow and normally weren’t bad about breathing down the employees’ necks. Their oldest daughter who also helped run everything was the one who was very peculiar, and we’ll call her Karen.
I am officially diagnosed with a hearing deficiency: Not enough to be considered deaf, but more than hard-of-hearing, so I wear hearing aids. My first day before we opened my coworkers asked me if they could do anything else to help me out, and we eventually started talking about hearing aids in general. While talking about everything I mentioned they had Bluetooth capabilities so I could play music through them. Not that I WOULD, but I COULD.
Karen had been in the room at the time, and said “You can’t wear those, no earbud policy.” and tapped on the policies paper on the wall. I protested, explaining they’re hearing aids and not earbuds, and that I wouldn’t be using them to listen to any music while I was working. Her reasoning was I didn’t “NEED” them because I wasn’t considered fully deaf, and I was doing this to get around the no earbud policy, directly quoting when I said they could play music.
I can’t wear them? Okay, let’s see how this goes. Placed them into the case in my bag and started my shift.
I couldn’t understand my trainer, couldn’t hear the customers, couldn’t hear when orders were called to be sent out. Things were going extremely slow, a couple of warmed pastries burnt since I wasn’t able to hear the timers. Simple sentences had to be repeated multiple times with people basically yelling at me just for me to be able to piece a few words together. I guess the cherry on top was me “ignoring” one of the owners when she tried speaking to me. Karen came up to me and tried addressing me about it, until she finally realized what was going on after she had repeated herself 5 times.
By the end of that shift, I was allowed to wear my hearing aids, no questions asked.
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