STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Being a server comes with a unique set of challenges from memorizing orders to communicating clearly with customers, all while having a positive attitude.
Now imagine doing that without being able to hear.
Brook Black does not have to imagine. Originally from Fond du Lac, Black was born deaf. She has always been driven to work, but with her disability, not everyone wanted to hire her.
Translated by Black’s daughter Kiara Boll, she says, “I’ve gone through a lot of obstacles that many deaf people all over the world struggle with. Finding a job is one of them.”
When A’ Boat Time opened in Sturgeon Bay in November by Stephen Homan, a friend of Black’s, she was grateful for the opportunity to prove herself.
“I’ve always looked at myself as normal, so I never really pictured that I could inspire others like I am right now. I want to prove to others that I can do it,” Black says.
Customers communicate with Black by circling what they want on the menu.
Homan says, “We have people that will literally learn sign language for the next time they come in. We have people Googling how to do sign language while they sit at the tables.”
Tamara Nielson stopped into the restaurant with her family and she says about Black, “It is very cool. I feel proud that she’s able to do such a great job, and I would come back, even just for that.”
Boll commended her mother for persevering through all the obstacles life has thrown at her.
“I’m glad she’s my role model. I don’t think I could ever look up to anybody else because she shows me that if I want something, I can get there by working hard. She shows me I shouldn’t give up on things just because other people say no,” Boll says.
Black also says she does not view her inability to hear as a disability, but rather a superpower.
She says, “I want to show all employers that deaf people can do it. Don’t give up, keep going, work hard, to the possibilities that you can move up in your life.”