Lindsey saw the struggle.
There’s a school for the deaf near the Truist branch where she works. And when deaf or hard-of-hearing clients came in, they’d have to write down their requests. Then Lindsey would write back.
This wasn’t always efficient. “A woman was having a problem with her debit card,” says Lindsey, “and it was honestly a little too complicated to write. It just got lost in translation.”
That’s when she took matters into her own hands. Literally. Lindsey taught herself American Sign Language, or ASL, so that she could better communicate with those clients.
Deserving of every right
Lindsey became aware of the challenges that come with disabilities when her younger sister, Emma, was born with achromatopsia, leaving her colorblind, with no vision in one eye, and day blindness. “Growing up, she was never treated like she had a disability,” Lindsey says, which may explain the way that Emma fearlessly embraces life. She’s now finishing her doctorate in physical therapy, and “is one of only a handful of people in the country who’s legally blind and a physical therapist,” Lindsey says proudly.
Watching her sister, she learned two things about people with disabilities. One, they struggle in ways most haven’t considered. (Challenges for Emma include managing the self-checkout screen at the store, finding car door handles, and reading expiration dates on food labels.) And two, people with disabilities can do so much more than people think. “Emma knows she’s got limitations, but she doesn’t let them hold her back,” says Lindsey. She adds that the way the world sees disabled people is inaccurate. Having a disability doesn’t always mean they aren’t capable of working, for example. “It just takes some accommodation,” she says. “And they deserve that. They deserve every right that every human has.”
Including the right to communicate.
Having a disability doesn’t always mean they aren’t capable of working, for example. “It just takes some accommodation,” she says. “And they deserve that. They deserve every right that every human has.”
‘You really care’
Lindsey, a Truist banker, learned ASL by watching videos and taking in-person classes. She’s been at it four years now, and this self-proclaimed perfectionist knows she still isn’t fluent. “There are so many words; I feel like I learn a new sign every day,” she says. “When you’re learning to sign, you learn the proper terms, but it’s not always like that in the real world. There are variations.”
Still, she’s learned enough to help her clients in the Truist branch. “Seeing the look on people’s faces when they don’t have to write, or struggle to communicate, it’s pretty awesome,” she says.
Her Truist teammate Christie learned about Lindsey’s skill at a meeting, during a game of Two Truths and a Lie. “One of Lindsey’s truths was, ‘I can sign.’ It was a really cool experience to hear her share her story,” says Christie, who was also impressed that Lindsey “didn’t boast about teaching herself ASL. She was so humble. That’s when I realized how amazing she is, how caring.”
Emma wasn’t surprised to hear about her sister going the extra mile to help someone. “To me, that’s just Lindsey. Of course she learned a whole other language so she could help people communicate.
“But in reality, it’s huge.”
Lindsey has taught some teammates a few ASL words. And not long ago, she learned a new word from a client named Miss Barbara. “She’d left her debit card, so I drove around till I found her. I handed her the debit card, and she signed something I didn’t recognize, so she spelled it out. C-a-r-e.
“‘You really care.’”