Thoughts after meeting with a shipper with disabilities

Internships are valuable opportunities because they are chances for you to meet new people. It’s not only a matter of networking or expanding your social connections. More than that, it is also people you meet, stories you hear and conversations you have – it is those simple, very random things that can bring you meaningful lessons and thoughts. To me, such a special encounter occurred just recently, when I met a special shipper – one with disabilities – during my internship at AhaMove.

He came to our office on an early Friday morning. Different from other motor riders who also came that day to sign up for AhaMove, he had only two fingers on each of his hands. Having such disability should make it extremely difficult and tiresome for one to do even the most simple task such as writing. Therefore,  despite coming 20 minutes before our training session for new riders, he couldn’t finish the preparation process, which included filling some signup forms, on time. Our team was also so understaffed that day to personally help him. Only after every other rider had finished moving into the training room did I realize he was still in the corner of our lobby struggling with the paperwork.

I had a closer look at him as I came to help. He wore an old shirt with a sun-burned skin color and tiredness on his face. I told him our session had started, asking if he could come back in the afternoon. “Yes, yes I will”, he replied. He asked if I could help him finishing the preparation process right then, worrying he might not make it on time again in the afternoon. As we filled out the information form together, he shared with me he had been doing delivery for some shops and stores before coming to AhaMove, but the job was unstable. “Some days they hired other instead of me, some days there’s simply no job to; nothing to deliver”, he said with a low voice. Given his disability, I guessed he didn’t have many options either. After that, he did came again in the afternoon, attended the training session and became our new shipper. Before he left, he came to thank me again, looking much happier than when I first met him in the morning.

Afterwards, I didn’t think much and almost forgot about him, until about a week later when we met again. He came as our shipper to deliver some equipment also for our office. He still wore an old shirt with a sun-burned skin color and drops of sweat of his face, but no tiredness this time. As he swiftly unpacked the stuffs, his two-fingered hands grabbed some plastic chairs and helped us bring them insides. Recognizing me, he nodded to say hi. I asked how things were going. “Much better, thank you!”, he said with a smile on his face. That was the second time I saw him smile, the first time was the afternoon after he had finished the training session and become our rider.

His smile lingered in my mind for a while. He seemed to be a hardworking man whose life had never been easy. He came to us, to AhaMove, looking for not only a more stable job but also a chance. A chance to fight against his disabilities, his disadvantages in life. Thinking about him looking happy as he helped us moving the plastic chairs, I hoped we at AhaMove had somehow really helped him.

That day, when I was on the way going home, my minds kept wandering around with thoughts. I wondered what the main purpose of a company should be. Many companies were built upon founders’ personal interests, whether they were to satisfy one’s passion for a particular idea, to make profit or whatever. However, I came to believe that, besides personal interests, a company must also have social benefits at its goals. Contributing to society should always be among the main purposes of a company. For a start-up, like AhaMove, it will be to do so in a revolutionary way.

I cherish the random meetings with new people and chances to hear their stories so much! They help me realize that internships are valuable opportunities not only because of things we can do – apply what we’ve learned in schools and explore career options. It’s also the people and conversations at work that can be meaningful lessons and make those working experience truly precious. Having said that, I am more grateful than ever to be a recipient of Dickinson Internship Grant! Without the support from the college and our generous donors, I would definitely not have these opportunities.

Looking forward to my one and a half month left at AhaMove!

Our training session for new riders on a regular afternoon. Credit: our CEO Truong Nguyen

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