Visual, hearing impairments can’t stop Jasper store’s duo
Daily Mountain Eagle Reporter : Jennifer Cohron
Friday, Mar 19, 2010
Photo By: Jennifer Cohron
Wesley Moran and Bill Adams are two of the most popular and easily recognizable employees at Wal-mart in Jasper.
Moran is deaf and Adams is legally blind. Both have been with the store since June 2009.
Wade Tibbs, co-manager at the Jasper store, said the community has embraced the two men.
“They’re an asset to our company. The customers seem like they love both of them,” Tibbs said.
For Moran, the feeling is mutual. He enjoys interacting with people while working in the dry grocery department.
Moran carries a pad and pen in his work apron so he can communicate with customers and co-workers. Gestures and facial expressions help too.
However, some people are uncomfortable around Moran once they realize he is deaf.
“I enjoy it (the job) but sometimes the people won’t talk to me,” Moran wrote. He then acted out a scenario where he gives the notepad to a customer only to have the person pull back looking frightened and shaking his or her head.
Moran, a 1985 graduate of the Alabama School for the Deaf, carried the Olympic torch through Clanton prior to the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. He moved to Arley after getting married.
Adams, on the other hand, came to Walker County after receiving a degree in justice studies and political science from Kent State University in 2008.
He started his career at Jasper Wal-mart as a cashier and was recently promoted to customer service manager.
His guide dog, Cactus, accompanies him on the job. He also wears sunglasses because he sees better in lower light.
Adams was born with albinism, a condition characterized by little or no pigment in a person’s eyes, skin and hair.
A magnifier that Adams keeps on his wrist helps him see dollar bills, paperwork, and other items that he handles every day.
Adams said the store’s customers have treated him very well so far.
“They’re always accepting. A couple of people have asked about the glasses and as soon as I explain everything to them, they’re usually amazed that I’m working,” Adams said.
In fact, Adams said he had no trouble finding work until the recession began. He worked for four years as a bus attendant for a transit company, spent two years with a medical facility’s IT department and completed an internship at American Council of the Blind.
Adams said his blindness has become an issue only occasionally while looking for jobs.
“It’s come up, but I always show them that I’m dedicated worker and have no problem putting in 110 percent,” Adams said.