Lexington, Ky (WTVQ)– As a deaf woman, Kimberly Fugate has faced adversity her whole life.
“I do everything just like everybody else does, the only thing I can’t do is hear you.” Said Fugate.
The deaf and hard of hearing community, which is the preferred nomenclature, not hearing impaired, relies on lip reading when communicating with those who don’t speak sign language. That’s pretty difficult when mouths are covered with masks.
Recently Kimberly found herself in a situation very few can understand.
“I load my groceries on the belt, I push my cart forward, and the cashier starts pointing to an item on the belt, and she’s looking at me and she’s point and it caught my attention. So, I looked at her and I told her I can’t hear you. So she waved me off. Would you mind to right it down and again she dismissed me.” Said Kimberly of the encounter.
Now to you, a wave of the hand may not seem like much, but in that moment to Kimberly it was a tipping point.
“I load my car and get in and realized the impact that had. Something as simple as grocery shopping.” Said a tearful Fugate.
Communication is something many of us take for granted, we don’t think about what it’s like for those who can’t. Kimberly says she doesn’t think the person was being mean, or purposely dismissing her, but it still hurt.
“Something I do every day like grocery shopping, so so hard and a big deal that she couldn’t take the time to write to me, to be patient.” Said Fugate.
Kimberly is using her story to raise awareness. A Facebook post recounting that moment has now garnered more than 30,000 shares.
She says if the post does one thing, she hopes it reminds people to just be patient with others. Especially during this time.
“I think that’s the goal raising awareness, being kind, being patient.” Said Kimberly.