By Freddie Velez
MARILAO, Bulacan–Wearing their person-with-disability pins, Sarah Jane Gonzales and Ryan Ortega smile as they serve hand-pulled noodles at Shou La Mien Hand Pulled Noodles in SM City Marilao Food court.
Every day Ortega stretches and kneads each noodle dough into delicate and dainty goodness cuisine. Gonzales, meanwhile waits on customers.
Another PWD, Ralph Marlon Yu, operates an elevator in the mall.
SM City Marilao also employs person-with-disability., who is an elevator operator, tirelessly show his ability in bringing utmost customer service to people.
Shou Area Supervisor Nenia Rose Fuentesdaynos said Sarah Jane Gonzales and Ryan Ortega’s passion, work ethic and skills remove the stigma associated with PWDs.
“Their presence also serve as an inspiration to all people that PWDs can be productive contributors to any work place,” Fuentesdaynos added.
SM City Marilao Assistant Mall Manager Don Fiesta explains that people with disabilities bring unique characteristics and talents to the workplace. “Our front liners such as our janitors and security guards are more equipped and experienced in handling customers with special needs because apart from being advocates they work with these people” Fiesta said.
Empowering PWDs and continuing its advocacy as a mall friendly to people with special needs, recently, the SM City Marilao conducted disability awareness training for its employees.
The seminar focused on the proper ways of communicating and assisting people with disabilities. Rosters of speakers include Autism Society Philippines President Dr. Anawi Tolentino and National Council on Disability Affairs Planning Officer Mojaira Dela Cruz.