This Waffle House Has a Deaf Cook



Although companies make accommodations for employees with disabilities, there’s still a huge discrepancy in workforce participation between deaf people and those who can hear. There are often layers of discriminatory practices within companies that impact the promotion of deaf employees. The Waffle House in Hope Hull, Ala., has shown that all employees should have the opportunity to excel at their jobs. Employee Pookie White, who is deaf, was a dishwasher at the Hope Hull Waffle House and he wanted to be promoted to cook. Management, however, was concerned that it would be difficult for him and other members of the staff because he wouldn’t be able to hear the orders. Still, Area Manager Michael Clements gave Pookie a shot, and he hasn’t regretted it. To bridge the communication gap, Pookie taught his co-workers some sign language, and they enthusiastically picked it up. Pookie has become a hit with the people of the community, and even has regular customers who come in just to see him. “They love the show,” said Clements "That’s part of the thing about Waffle House, we’re right in front of everybody on center stage. He eats the center stage up.” Pookie White’s story is a great lesson for business owners and managers everywhere. People with disabilities shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to being given opportunities in the workplace.