The boisterous chatter of customers and bustling ambiance of waiters/waitresses alike are restaurant rituals. However, in a quaint hotpot eatery in Xi’an, China, silence is a also source of communication, comfort and joy. The restaurant employs nine deaf staff.
Mediums of communication look very different for this unique hotpot spot. Employees “sign” with their hands amongst themselves and communicate with customers through cards, LED signs, bells, or writing.
Despite communication barriers, many customers praise the amazing services they receive. The restaurant has also become an attraction for deaf-mute customers, who can enjoy “normal” dining settings and services that are not always offered elsewhere.
In explaining their mission, the manager talks about their purpose to “offer them [these deaf employees] a chance for a job they would not have otherwise.”
It is paramount that the rest of our society follows suit to normalize interactions between those who are physically, mentally, and intellectually impaired or disabled and those who aren’t. Only then, can we create inclusive spaces and environments for all.
We are not all that different.