Rebecca Briggs

"Becky" segment from "Living My Own Life: Adults with Disabilities"

Narrator: Becky's life revolves around her career at Zingerman's, which is Ann Arbor's most popular delicatessen. Zingerman's has a strong sense of social responsibility as part of their mission. Their aim is not just to sell deli items. They want to make their customers smile, and Becky has played an important role in this for ten years.

Parvis: Everybody gets kind of excited when Becky shows up for her shift and, you know, it's kind of a time to stop and everybody says, you know, "Hi, Becky. Are you ready to go out today?"

Narrator: Zingerman's even named a sandwich after her.

Hoyle: Becky, do you enjoy your job here at Zingerman's?

Becky: Yeah. Wash the table and I clean the tables.

Parvis: It's more a pleasure and a learning experience for us everyday. Um, I think Becky has a unique effect on every day that she's here. She just comes in and speaks with guests and maybe teaches us a little bit about diverse lives. Hm-mmm.

Narrator: To Becky, work means regular contact with people without disabilities, doing something truly useful where she is appreciated. It means the support of lots of people. Becky recently lost her father.

Hoyle: One of the things that we've learned is that when people have other supports in the community and that occurs before they lose a parent…

Parvis: Um-hmmm…

Hoyle: Then, that's really significant for people.

Parvis: The morning supervisors, or the people who are supervising the café, had come to me when things were happening with her dad and said, "we're really, really worried about Becky and we don't want her to stop working here." And when she's upset, sometimes she clicks her nails, and they said that that had increased a little bit. But, what I noticed was that they were spending a lot more time with Becky and her job coach was able to come in and I'm not sure if it was more getting her mind off it, but she was able to keep up kind of her routine, which is very important to her. And, uh, I think what she found is that a lot of people were there for her and that this is helpful, and it was very interesting to watch her go through it, and in a sense, I think we all went through it together and it taught us a lot.

Parvis to Becky: Uh oh, probably all set there, huh? You want to wring it out?

Parvis: She's probably the hardest working, I mean, she comes in here every day and is extremely diligent, she has her routine down and she really sets an example for most of the staff.

Narrator: Any one of us appreciates the friendly involvement of our co-workers. Why should people with disabilities be any different?

Parvis: Every day you come in and you see Eliza and Nicole. You guys get ready to get out and work on the floor…

Becky: Work on the floor.

Parvis: Every day, like clockwork, she comes in.

Becky: Clockwork.

Parvis: Like clockwork, huh?

Becky: Mm-hmm.