True Genius

This wonderful video about an effort to make a hearing-impaired man’s world easier for a day has been making the rounds online recently. (Full story is here.) While I’ve watched it a few times, it took on a whole new meaning for me this evening.

The other day, my beloved MacBook seemingly fried out. After an exasperating web search of ways to troubleshoot the problem myself, I reluctantly made an appointment with the nearby Apple Genius Bar tonight. When I propped myself at the “bar” to wait to see if a “Genius” could save my poor computer, I noticed a consultation in progress next to me. The customer was hearing-impaired. I was fascinated by the tools and technology that this man utilized to adapt to a world in which communication is so challenging. He opened an app on his iPad in order to call his iPhone. When he answered the phone, a woman appeared on his iPad screen, signing and helping him sign/interpret with the Apple “Genius”. The “Genius” was patient, kind, and determined to do whatever he could to help his client. I mean he worked so hard. This wasn’t an easy process for either one of them, but they made it work beautifully. Lots of “thumbs up” gestures were exchanged.

At one point, the “Genius” apologized to me for my wait and said the someone would be with me soon. I smiled and told him I wasn’t in a hurry. And I wasn’t. I was so moved by the experience, I didn’t care when my problem was addressed. The hearing-impaired gentleman smiled at me and joked with me by placing his hands around his neck in mock frustration.

Eventually, his issue was resolved, as was mine. I blinked back tears for a myriad of reasons as I left the store. For starters, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to function in a world while lacking a basic function that other human counterparts typically take for granted. And trying to navigate technology without the ability to hear?? Are you kidding? But then there was the element of kindness, as demonstrated by the “Genius”. It’s everything that people are supposed to extend to each other, but fail so often to do so. It simply made me want to be a better person. More patient. More kind.

By the way, on a more shallow and selfish note, my computer was saved — after a “Genius” fixed it. Free of charge. Just one of many gifts I received from this visit tonight.

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