Off to a running start.
The products really opened up the possibilities for me. Then the Apple Store did.
QuestionYou appeared in an Apple Watch video, even before you worked at Apple? Answer That’s right. I’m just one of several in the video. They were telling customer stories and included me because I use my watch to train and run 5Ks and half-marathons. My social apps really blew up with congratulations when everyone saw it.
QuestionHow did you start working at the Apple Store? AnswerA running partner who worked there referred me. The store had always felt good to me as a customer — I wasn’t treated as someone who’s blind. QuestionWhat do you mean? AnswerThey welcomed me and answered questions, but nobody was trying to escort me around and tell me to watch out for this or that. QuestionHad you considered working there before? Answer Not at all. I didn’t realise I could. Now that I’m here, I help all customers with all products, though I’m especially familiar with fitness apps and accessibility features.
My colleagues come to me for my expertise and I go to them for theirs. We all depend on each other.
QuestionWhat attracted you as a customer? AnswerI think the same things everyone likes about the products — so simple to use, fun and, for me, very empowering. For the latest Global Accessibility Awareness Day, our Apple T-shirts said, “Designed for Everyone”, and it reminded me of when I first heard that years ago, before I owned an Apple product. My reaction was “That’s impossible!” QuestionWhat changed your mind? AnswerEveryone, including me, uses Siri, listens to music and audiobooks, and with VoiceOver, I can read my screens and navigate through my devices. QuestionLooks like you also navigate with help from a furry, four-legged device. Answer Yes, my guide dog, Bell, comes to work with me — he’s even got his very own Apple employee ID badge.
QuestionYou’ve made contributions beyond the store too. AnswerYes, I’ve participated in a number of accessibility events with Apple, both internal and public, as a guest speaker or part of roundtable discussions. QuestionWhat’s your role there? AnswerIt’s about building awareness, describing roles at the store, and why accessibility issues shouldn’t hold you back.
Representing Apple at events has been a whole new kind of experience for me.