Working in the cold, surrounded by mounds of dirty snow and wet asphalt, isn’t for everybody, but it doesn’t bother Richard Ward. With a smile yet intense focus, Richard goes to his job three times a week at Fairway in Douglaston, where he helps reorganize shopping carts and baskets for the customers. Wearing the classic green Fairway smock and a beanie, Richard moves quickly through the parking lot with purpose–maybe the cold does bother him a little.
“The people here are very nice, the customers too,” Richard says. “I have a lot of friends here. My boss is very nice to me.”
Richard has been working at this Fairway for almost four years. He receives services at Far Rockaway Day Services and commutes to the supermarket either through Access-A-Ride or, like today, via a program vehicle accompanied by his support staff. Cassandra Sanchez, Community Support Professional, says that she is part of a rotating group of Far Rockaway staff who come with Richard.
“I really only need to remind Richard of the time so he can eat lunch and when to go home,” says Cassandra. “Otherwise he’ll just keep working! He’s very independent here. He knows exactly what he has to do and doesn’t want somebody following him around the store.”
The Difference it Makes
Richard’s colleagues at Fairway see and appreciate the work he does every day he is there. “Richard is an awesome worker,” Chad, a cashier, says. “I know he has a disability but he does the best he can and he’s great to work with.”
When asked why he chose to work at Fairway, Richard has a simple answer. “It’s a job! I like to save my money in my bank account.” He is always looking forward to his next day of work, even if it’s cold.