Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The strange and curious case of the physically challenged driver (hearing impaired)

















The strange and curious case of the physically  challenged driver (hearing impaired)






Original True Story
by 
Swaminathan Sankaran




The strange and curious case of the physically challenged driver (hearing impaired). A true story.

Recently I hired a cab service. After booking a service - I received the details of the driver and vehicle on my smart phone.

As I glanced through the details I noticed a tag. It triggered my curiosity.  I read it again. It was about the driver. 

It mentioned, “Please note - the driver is deaf or hard of hearing”.

Somewhere my social consciousness got triggered. Impressed to know that individuals with such difficulties rather than blaming their disabilities have empowered themselves and are also active in professions where even normal people have difficulties in maneuvering the difficult traffic conditions of Indian cities.

The cab arrived. I approached the driver. Several questions propped up in my mind. Can he hear me? How will he understand the instructions to be provided by me or by others (in case of difficult locations to be identified or traced)? Can he drive safely? How does he handle irate drivers who tend to honk at the drop of hat?

As I approached the cab the driver wished me. I sat next to the driver. (I thought it was safer to be at the front seat than back seat – and if I had to convey any directions then I will have access to his eyes in case -  lip reading is required).

The driver started the cab. And we cruised along the busy highway.

Suddenly a phone rang. It was the driver’s phone. The driver pulled over and stopped the car.  It was a call from his wife. He answered the phone. He had a brief and intense talk with wife. He finished the call. He apologized for any inconvenience he might have caused to me.

I was shocked! The driver could hear and talk! No sign of any disability in hearing skills!

I was confused ….I was shocked.

Hesitatingly, I approached the driver with an intention to clear the confusion.  Curiously I asked him - Can you hear? Do you have any impairment in hearing?

The driver was perplexed. He probably did not understand the question or why this question was being asked.

I repeated the question. Can you hear?

The driver - Yes! Why? I can hear perfectly. What made you think I cannot hear or my hearing is impaired?

I showed him the tag and other details sent by his company.

Now it was the turn of the driver. He was shocked.

He said,” I am healthy and perfectly well in hearing skills. I can talk well and hear well”.

I asked him …if you are not having any impairment in hearing then why the company tagged him as a person with hearing challenges?

The driver was perplexed. He said that he did not know about the tag. For him it was a revelation.

Now I was curious and started probing. Was there any miscommunication with the company? Had he inadvertently provided wrong information about his physical fitness? 

As we cruised along………he started opening up. 

"Sir….there was this problem with my company regarding my remuneration" … and that he had several arguments with the company regarding this.

I got the answer!

The finance executive at the cab company had several arguments with this driver. He had tried explaining and having failed to make the driver understand and probably got angry at the driver for not listening to his point of view. 

In exasperation and anger the executive had tagged him… 

"Driver is deaf or hard of hearing. Hearing impaired"!



S.Swaminathan is a Power Motivator, Author, Motivational Speaker, Soft Skills and Corporate Trainer, HRD Consultant and Director – Asktenali.com. He has held several senior management, positions in the Information Technology Industry.







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S.Swaminathan is a Power Motivator, Author, Motivational Speaker, Soft Skills and Corporate Trainer, HRD Consultant and Director – Asktenali.com. He has held several senior management, positions in the Information Technology Industry.