A Letter to Apple, a Company That Gave My Brother a Chance When Others Didn’t
My brother is 26 years old and he works as an Expert for one of your stores. He’s a typical 26-year-old guy. He’s into technology, women, video games, Bob Marley and a good pizza.
He’s just a little different than your average guy. My brother (I won’t say his name as I know the company has some rules about media and employees) loves Apple products. He knows every product inside and out. He knew every product inside and out even before working at Apple. His interview process was quite long, maybe about six or seven months. He answered all the questions correctly, blew away the interviewers and interviewees in the group setting and proved he was more than qualified for the Specialist role. I know your company wanted to handle his case properly, legally and with dignity, and that took time.
My brother has spinal muscular atrophy, a type of muscular dystrophy. He’s never been able to walk, crawl forward or do much of anything physical for himself, but he’s smart as all hell. Death has knocked on his door more times than I can count on all fingers and toes. He has literally cheated death and come back to life more than once. He experiences pain every day.
Most other jobs he’s applied to in the past never gave him a chance. In high school he would drive his wheelchair to places, resume and application in hand. Managers would kindly accept his papers and never give him a call back. Maybe they were scared, maybe they figured he couldn’t contribute, maybe the job required physical aspects he couldn’t do… maybe they were just a bunch of f*cking as*holes.
I visit the store my brother works at from time to time. Sometimes just to say hi, sometimes to feed him his lunch as he can’t feed himself, sometimes to bring his 1- year-old niece in for a visit because he loves to show off the light of his life. I watch him work, and I see a spark in him. He’s proud of himself. He knows he’s good at his job. He trains new hires, he knows the answer to just about every customer question and his co-workers admire him and know they can approach him with any technical question.
Throughout every medical leave and hospital stay, Apple sticks by him. Anytime his health declines, he always has the same goal in mind — to get back to work at Apple, a place where he is successful. Thank you for his flexible work schedule that allows him to rest every few days. Thank you for understanding every time he gets sick. Thank you for giving him a workplace to return home to when he feels better. Thank you for showing him his illness does not put his career at risk.
Apple has given him something that other companies never tried to give him. An opportunity. A damn chance.
Apple doesn’t necessarily advertise their items as disability products, but from an accessibility standpoint, they’re out of this world. My brother’s iPhone and Apple Watch give him the ability to use his voice to complete tasks that others complete with their hands. He depends on others for other daily tasks, but his Apple products give him quite a bit of freedom from having to ask someone for help when it comes to things that can be completed with an Apple Watch or iPhone.
Thank you for giving him a chance. Thank you for giving his family the opportunity to see him excel when he deserves it just as much as anyone else.
A version of this post originally appeared on LinkedIn.
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