Woman with disability endures eight-hour commute to realize barista dream
Deanna is walking through the outdoor shopping centre on the final leg of a long commute. "Got on the ferry [from the Gulf Islands] at six in the morning," she says. "And then I take two buses to get to work."
It takes almost four hours each way. "But it's worth it," she smiles. "And it's fun!"
Deanna usually passes her time crocheting strips of plastic bags. She transforms them into purses. Instead of recycling, she loops and interlocks the plastic as a creative way to be kind to the environment.
The 45 year old says kindness has been her goal since she was a kid. "When somebody would break their toys, I developed a hobby of fixing their toys," she recalls. "I don't know how, but I did."
I ask if it's her superpower. "No," she laughs. "Not superpowers!"
Deanna is too humble to admit that. And she's too modest to acknowledge the strength it took to be kind to herself and others after being bullied in school for having a disability.
"It was rough but I got through it," she says. "I lost part of myself, but I found part of myself."
Deanna seems to have found the independence and drive to pursue a decades-long dream. "I wanted to be a barista."
Deanna finally realized her goal at A Kinder Cup in View Royal's Admirals Walk, where Kim hired her to be one of her first employees. "The model here is to hire adults with disabilities and have them be part of the team and learn new job skills," the coffee shop's owner explains. "And just be part of the community."
One of her coworkers says the community is being strengthened by Deanna's perpetual positivity. "If I'm having a bad day," she gestures to Deanna smiling. "I feel she's having a good time, I should too!"
More than making coffee or counting change, Deanna says she endures her considerable commute so she can be an ambassador for kindness. "You're spreading love and open-mindedness to people who are not expecting it," Deanna explains.
But don't call her "super kind." Deanna will dismiss that, saying she's not perfect and hasn't achieved her goal of 100 per cent kind yet. "[It's only] 99 per cent of the time," she jokes.
After a full day or work – wrapped around eight hours of commuting – Deanna says she spends the remaining 1 per cent "falling asleep!"