A new Starbucks in Malaysia is like no other.
Mohammad Aizad Bin Ariffin just got a promotion, and it means he’s “well on his way to achieving [his] dream.”
He wants to become the first deaf Starbucks store manager in Malaysia, and now — as the new shift manager at a location in Kuala Lumpur — that goal is in sight.
Although Ariffin — who’s worked for the coffee chain for three years — certainly deserves a pat on the back for movin’ on up, his deafness isn’t all that unique at the Starbucks location. It’s actually the norm.
10 of the 13 employees at Ariffin’s store are deaf. And that’s a big first for Starbucks.
The store, which just recently opened in a shopping center, is the first Starbucks in the world dedicated to hiring deaf employees.
The coffee chain partnered with the Society of Interpreters for the Deaf (SID) to hire, train, and coach new workers, as well as teach sign language to employees who are not deaf or hard of hearing, according to Starbucks.
So is this Starbucks only for customers who are deaf?
Certainly not. Anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing will find the store especially accessible, but a customer who doesn’t know sign language can write their order on a menu card.
Each customer is given an order number, which will flash on a screen to let them know their drinks or food is ready.
The biggest difference between this Starbucks and others might just be the fact that you won’t hear workers yelling drink orders at one another — they’ll be signing instead.
The new store is part of Starbucks’ mission to expand opportunities for marginalized groups.
For the deaf community — a population that faces high rates of job discrimination and unemployment — it’s a cause worth fighting for.
Three out of four people living with hearing loss reported having more limited employment opportunities than their hearing peers, according to a 2014 study by U.K.-based group Action on Hearing Loss.
Figures like that show why we need far more companies following in Starbucks’ footsteps.
To Ariffin, his promotion isn’t just about himself, either — now, he’s able to help other workers in his shoes aim higher.
“It’s an incredible feeling to share my journey and help develop other deaf [workers],” he notes.
Cheers on taking a big step forward toward your dream, Mohammad Aizad BinAriffin.