Disabled Lives Matter


November 19, 2021

Season 1, Episode 38
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Teresa Beard

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: All right, well welcome everyone, this is needing vogel your co host of disabled lives matter, as you know, it's more than a podcast it's a movement and what helps that movement is my fabulous co host norma Stanley.

NORMA STANLEY: Hello everybody.

Nadine Vogel: So norma I don't know about you, but our guest today, I first of all let me just say Teresa beard she is a writer a podcaster and a consultant from Western New York, but norma when you heard about the podcast.

Nadine Vogel: And the title of it.

Nadine Vogel: I don't know what your reaction was my was, and this, this is some cool sh--t.

NORMA STANLEY: Okay, okay.  Well that sounded very cool to me too.

Nadine Vogel: yeah so um now that we've gotten everyone to wonder well what is the name of her podcast it is sh--t that scares me.

Nadine Vogel: Some people that alone is going to be scary so welcome to teresa how are you.

Teresa Beard: I am so great Thank you so much for letting me be here, this is exciting.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely so well you know, obviously that's the elephant in the room, so let's start with.

Nadine Vogel: What the podcast is about, and why you called it, that.

Teresa Beard: Well, so the podcast is literally about sh--t that scares me um I have been a lifelong.

Teresa Beard: fan, how you know how to fascination with things like the paranormal super supernatural like I can remember, being in first and second grade and being like obsessed with Halloween and wanting to learn about ghosts and all that good stuff so.

Teresa Beard: That has carried me through my entire life i'm you know I just turned 39 so uh.

Teresa Beard: I when I thought about starting a podcast and also because.

Teresa Beard: paranormal and supernatural podcasts are the ones that I listened to the most I started thinking about like.

Teresa Beard: All the stories that you hear on paranormal and supernatural pa podcasts and even true crime and they're all kind of the same, which you know is great, because I only have to have listen to them when i'm listening, I can multitask, but I also is kind of like well.

Teresa Beard: it's a big wide world and there's so much other scary stuff in the world, and not just like oh it's a ghost and no it's an alien but like how about.

Teresa Beard: The fact that you can go to work one day or go to school, one day, and not come home or.

Teresa Beard: You know, existing in the world as a disabled person is terrifying.

Teresa Beard: So there's all these other things, and you know how do you incorporate all of these scary things into one sort of neat package and it just became sh--t that scares me.

Nadine Vogel: So we. used to have someone at.

Nadine Vogel: springboard who used to you know, when there was a lot of crazy work, you would say you know, is the scary pile right.

Teresa Beard: yeah.

Nadine Vogel: And I think that this is something bigger now you know you mentioned that you know living in a world as someone with a disability is scarier certainly can be scary so tell us a little bit about that, and your disability.

Teresa Beard: Oh wow um so I was born with a disability, I have a birth defect called.

Teresa Beard: chiari malformation and there's a bunch of different types, I have one of the less severe types.

Teresa Beard: This is the same birth defect that causes like spina bifida if you guys know what that is um.

Teresa Beard: You know little kids being born with holes in their spines is is a more severe form of this but, like you know growing up, I wasn't actually diagnosed until I was 16 or 17 

Nadine Vogel: oh wow.

Teresa Beard:  um which is you know pretty common for this birth fact and.

Teresa Beard: My mom found out that she also has it when I was diagnosed she was in her early 40s at the time, so you know I spent the formative years of my life like.

Teresa Beard: Having these horrible migraines and falling down all the time, and all these other things that like nobody knew why so they just kind of like ignored it.

Teresa Beard: And that.

Teresa Beard: was like my I never thought of being a person who's disabled, so it was never.

Teresa Beard: I just had to find ways to exist in a world that like.

Teresa Beard: wasn't here for my particular like i'm also very short i'm four foot 11.

Teresa Beard: I haven't grown I joke, since the seventh grade so like that is part of my disability too so.

Teresa Beard: i've always existed in a world that was not meant for people like me.

Nadine Vogel: mm hmm.

Teresa Beard: And that.

Teresa Beard: has been.

Teresa Beard: I mean.

Teresa Beard: I don't know any different so it's not like I had to learn to to get along like that, but when I really think about all the things that I have to do to compensate to like work a real job and and have all the go to school and.

Teresa Beard: it's sort of staggering to me what I what I always accepted as normal that other people didn't have to deal with so.

Teresa Beard: But in addition to like this birth defect, I have it causes all these other things like chronic pain and chronic migraines and all these things that can be really debilitating.

Teresa Beard: That you know you have to fight with doctors to get them to listen to you and.

Teresa Beard: You know it's very easy for them once they find out that I have chiari for them to just blow everything else off as oh it's it's just another symptom of this illness that you've had so you're born so. yeah.

Nadine Vogel: so what would you say you wish, you know what do you want people to understand the most about.

Nadine Vogel: I would say your disability and in your disability, you know is very much invisible right unless and until it becomes visible right, so what would you say that you wish people understood about invisible disabilities, probably in general and then your specific illness. 

Teresa Beard: um. Just because I don't look sick doesn't mean i'm not, which is, I think, really common among people with invisible disabilities like but also just because i'm okay in this moment doesn't mean that an hour from now I won't be flat on my back with a migraine.

Teresa Beard: Or that.

Teresa Beard: Tomorrow i'll still be okay.

Teresa Beard: that's a big one, because.

Teresa Beard: Even our current very broken disability system struggles with that.

Teresa Beard: Because it's like I am today very functional and very capable of like working a full time job, and you know going grocery shopping and all these other things, but.

Teresa Beard: Tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, I might not be so i'm not you know right now clinically disabled, but I also not fully functional so that's The thing that I.

Teresa Beard: want people to understand more than they currently do and it's not just like people with my illness my best friend has an illness called charcot marie tooth.

Nadine Vogel: mm hmm.

Teresa Beard: And she actually works for the national organization for cmt now and same thing if she didn't work for the nonprofit for her disability.

Teresa Beard: She would have to fight every single day to get people to take her seriously as being disabled so.

Nadine Vogel: And I think you're right those things are scary. right.

Teresa Beard: yeah.

Nadine Vogel: they're scary to hear about.

Nadine Vogel: Very scary to live with which I guess goes back to your purpose for starting the podcast like you said it's not all about ghosts and goblins right it's about real life, I mean norma you know you and I have talked about you know, having adult daughters with disabilities, you know.


Nadine Vogel: We get scared to death on a lot of things.

NORMA STANLEY: So many things.

Nadine Vogel: There's some scary crap out there for us too.

Teresa Beard: yeah and I think I mean my mom too like if she didn't have the same types of disabilities, that I do um she would just be beside herself with panic like constantly but.

Nadine Vogel. yes.

Teresa Beard:  You know, but because she has that Frame of Reference she's a little more chilled out about it, I think.

Nadine Vogel: So I'm curious and in you know, norma, you and I talk often about this balance and the balance, they always say it's not work life balance is integration.

Nadine Vogel: right but i'm curious for you Teresa as as someone with this disability that one day it is, and when they it's not kind of thing, how do you juggle job and life and projects and and not knowing what tomorrow, may be, how do you balance all of that.

Teresa Beard: um it's really freaking difficult.

Teresa Beard: Until about six months ago I worked like a standard full time job I worked for a dating APP I was extremely lucky because that job had always been remote um I started there in 2015 and was remote the whole time so.

Teresa Beard: At the time that I got that job I was just starting to figure out that I need to prioritize where my energy is spent.

Teresa Beard: And the way that I put it is like.

Teresa Beard: I start out every day with like a half tank of gas or less so I need to prioritize where that gas where that fuel goes.

Nadine Vogel:  Got it.

Teresa Beard: And, if I can cut out things like even excuse me like driving to a job, a commute takes that emotional physical fuel for me i'm getting ready in the morning, there were days when I was like I can either shower or I can start work on time.

Nadine Vogel:  Right, right.

Teresa Beard: Things that you can't really do when you have a traditional job so now.

Teresa Beard: That job got to be too much for me, because it was very demanding and very stressful and so now, I still have to prioritize where my energy goes but i'm working for myself, so that gives me a lot more flexibility.

Teresa Beard: Luckily, I have the kinds of skills that lend themselves to being self employed.

Teresa Beard: With a you know modicum of discipline that I learned from working remotely.

Teresa Beard: I can't say that I have much but.

Teresa Beard: um but also I.

Teresa Beard: out of necessity, I get groceries delivered and I.

Teresa Beard: have somebody come in and clean my house a couple times a month to do the deep clean, because if i'm spending my energy on a grocery trip or you know washing my baseboards.

Teresa Beard: i'm going to do nothing else that day 

Nadine Vogel:  Right, right.

Teresa Beard: So that's I that's been my biggest challenge to is.

Teresa Beard: relearning how to prioritize my energy.

Teresa Beard: Not just my time.

Nadine Vogel: yep well you know what's interesting about this, because I was going to ask a question Norma I often talk about like you know self care.

Nadine Vogel: Right and how to practice self care.

Nadine Vogel: And you know, certainly someone adults with disabilities folks experiencing mental health related issues.

Nadine Vogel: that's a big deal right for special needs parents like norma you know sierra is in a wheelchair, and you know sierra's amazing but The thing is, is that she relies on you right to take care of her.


Nadine Vogel: So there's this issue of self care and what I what I love hearing about what you're saying Teresa is that it's really taking a step back and understanding yourself.

Teresa Beard:  Yes.

Nadine Vogel: And accepting and embracing who you are like you said, your energy level what you can do instead of fighting it.

Nadine Vogel: and saying, I know I you know I start with half a tank but i'm just going to work as if I had a full tank, no matter what right that that's not self care so.

Nadine Vogel: It sounds to me like the way you've been successful and certainly you are successful and balance everything really has to do with your acknowledgement of how you're feeling and your self care, I could gather.

Teresa Beard: Yes 100% and it has taken so long to get to the point where i'm not like being super harsh on myself for not being able to do the same things that quote unquote normal people can do like.

Teresa Beard: I have a fiance who is amazing and wonderful, but able bodied and doesn't have health problems and whatever so I.

Teresa Beard: Even up until like four or five years ago would browbeat myself into Okay, well, I have to go to the grocery store, I have to do this.  I have to do this.

Nadine Vogel:  right.

Teresa Beard: Instead of acknowledging that my time and energy is more valuable.

Teresa Beard: Like literally and monetary more.

Teresa Beard: Valuable than being put elsewhere.

Nadine Vogel: what's your worth.

Teresa Beard: Exactly and like you know spending the extra 10 or 15 bucks to get my groceries delivered because it's really ultimately all it costs, I'm over going to the grocery store.

Nadine Vogel: I hate grocery shopping.

Nadine Vogel: Can we just say I hate grocery shopping.

Teresa Beard: I like going to the grocery store when I don't need to.

Nadine Vogel: Okay, okay.

Teresa Beard:  I love when I get to walk around.

Nadine Vogel: Like walking around with a list.

Teresa Beard: yeah yeah if I only need to like do my weekly trip.

Nadine Vogel:  Yeah.

Teresa Beard: because it's not just wandering around the store it's like getting this stuff to my car.

Teresa Beard: Unloading it when I get home, so I can.

Teresa Beard: it's worth that extra 10 or 15 bucks to me like.

NORMA STANLEY: I'm going to do the same thing I became sick, as a result of taking my daughter's wheelchair in and out of the car for 30 years and so i'm in the process of. and I. 

NORMA STANLEY: love to go shopping I love grocery shopping I love to cook and um, but I have come to the decision that I have to do the same thing I have to step back and say is a better way that I can get the same result and not put too much wear and tear on myself, because I am getting older, you know.

Nadine Vogel: Oh but you're getting better. norma

Teresa Beard: Like a fine wine Why and cheese.

Nadine Vogel: That's right exactly exactly well on that pleasant note.

Teresa Beard: acknowledging our limitations, is what it's about.

Nadine Vogel: Well, acknowledging that side to note wine cheese and really like you know thinking for dinner now.

Nadine Vogel: let's take it let's go to commercial break and then we will come back with Teresa Teresa I I have so many more questions and I asked you i'm having so much fun talking with you so everybody stay with us don't leave we'll be back in just a minute.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

Have you attended a springboard Consulting event? Well, you should, we have the best events and our 2022 events are just under way. Firstly is the Brg Summit happening on Tuesday, April 26th, and then following that is Disability Matters. North America Conference and Awards that's happening Wednesday and Thursday, April, 27 and 28. Both events are being delivered by a live stream. If interested in attending, please visit www.consultspringboard.com for more information.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.


Nadine Vogel: all right Hello everyone and welcome back to the second half of today's episode of disabled lives matter.

Nadine Vogel: norma stanley and I are having this fun conversation with Theresa beard who hosts a podcast sh--t that scares me, and you know what I totally get it now.

Nadine Vogel: Before this We weren't sure, but totally get it now so Teresa before we before we broke um you were talking about you know self care and how you juggle and manage and it's being true to yourself, but you also did say something I picked up on that it kind of took you a long time to get there.

Teresa Beard: Oh yeah.

Nadine Vogel: Right, so what advice would you give your younger self whether it's about medi you know battling some of the medical issues finding treatments or just you know honoring your time and energy for yourself, for your fiance What would you tell her.

Teresa Beard: uh honestly.

Teresa Beard: Therapy, go to therapy.

Teresa Beard: Because I part and parcel of my birth defect is mental illness primarily anxiety and depression and research is fuzzy on whether.

Teresa Beard: You have mental illness, because you have chiari or, if you have mental illness, because, like people with disabilities generally have higher rates of mental illness.

Nadine Vogel: Right 

Teresa Beard: um.

Teresa Beard: But for so decades of my life I fought and fought and fought I can do it myself I don't need therapy, I really bought into so much of the stigma that surrounds mental illness and mental health treatment and.

Teresa Beard: I was so much worse off for it, if I had.

Teresa Beard: You know started therapy at 17-18 years old, when I really started struggling I could have saved myself so much trouble and like just Teresa go to therapy it's fine.

Teresa Beard: you'll feel so much better afterwards.

Nadine Vogel: yeah no, I think, and I think people are, I think people are afraid of therapy, I think you know they feel like they're giving up you know there's all kinds of stigma.

Nadine Vogel: associated with mental illness and then you add will go to therapy or support groups and suddenly the stigma goes even further.

Teresa Beard: Yeah.

Nadine Vogel: Which is, which is a shame, because, like you said that that's what's helped.

Nadine Vogel: yeah and we know that that helps so many people, so if you meet someone new.

Nadine Vogel: we're not let's say on the scary sh--t podcast and we're not on the disabled lives matter podcasts but you know you're with friends, you know you're out, you meet someone do you talk about disability and, if so, in what scenario, or how do you talk about it.

Teresa Beard: And it kind of depends like i'm very open about it but.

Teresa Beard: Not like oh hi it's nice to meet you I also have a disability, I also you know i'm in therapy and take take medications but like.

Nadine Vogel: [Laughter]

Teresa Beard: Like honestly.

Teresa Beard: I did.

Teresa Beard: Once go on a first date and uh the guy was amazing I was super into him and I was just sort of starting my therapy journey, and you know I, for some reason, decided to lay it all out on the table for this dude.

Nadine Vogel: [Laughter]

Teresa Beard: we're still together for a year, so.

Nadine Vogel: What.

Teresa Beard: Well maybe you know.

Nadine Vogel: it wasn't that scary for him so okay.

Teresa Beard: that's no way.

Teresa Beard: He I was like yeah I you know i'm on medication and therapy whatever he goes oh cool meet too and with.


Teresa Beard: A whole thing.

Nadine Vogel: The new me too movement. 

Teresa Beard:  Right yeah yeah and like.

Nadine Vogel: The real life version.

Teresa Beard: The the transparency was really fantastic because, like first dates are so annoying i'm really glad that I haven't been on one in a really long time, but like.

Teresa Beard: I don't ever want people to feel like they're meeting my PR representative so with anybody at this point, you know if it comes up I talked about it.

Teresa Beard: You know it's it's, a thing that I am.

Teresa Beard: Very over my shame of.

Nadine Vogel: Right, right.

Teresa Beard: That shame lasted way too long about my disability my mental health, the works so i'm very, very open about it now, but not.

Nadine Vogel: Well it's interesting too, because you know, like you said, your job was remote.

Nadine Vogel: So you weren't sitting in an office in a location, with a lot of other people and Norma I you know we talked to folks all the time that work in corporations or.

Nadine Vogel: or in a retail environment and they're surrounded by people and they go through this issue of.

Nadine Vogel: Do I disclose do I not disclose what do I say, is it hurtful is it helpful and that alone creates all kinds of anxiety. 

Teresa Beard:  Yeah.

Nadine Vogel: If you will, right and it just in my opinion, just takes it to a whole nother level so.

Teresa Beard:  Yeah.

Nadine Vogel: I just.

Nadine Vogel: I love how you've just come to terms but not come to terms in terms of a why me come to terms with this just who I am i'm still going to be the best and successful and do all these crazy wild things it's just who I am.

Teresa Beard: yeah.

Teresa Beard: Well, and it's funny that you mentioned work because I got insanely lucky with my.

Teresa Beard: Previous job, the people that I worked with my management, because we all.

Teresa Beard: We worked in an industry that is very niche and can be very stressful our primary responsibilities were like keeping people on our website safe.

Teresa Beard: From scammers.

Teresa Beard: or criminals or.

Teresa Beard: Some of the darker aspects of online dating.

Teresa Beard: And we joke that we're just a bunch of like introverted weirdos trying to do good in the world, and so there were a lot of people like me they were other disabled people.

Teresa Beard: There were.

Teresa Beard: people with mental health challenges people you know my manager for six years, almost has chronic fatigue and used to work in like high powered corporate jobs, he was a CEO and all the stuff that he got sick and ended up.

Teresa Beard: joining this company and working in his capacity that he could would CFS and it just I was so lucky to be surrounded by.

Teresa Beard: Other people with the same kinds of challenges.

Nadine Vogel:  Yeah.  

Teresa Beard: And I think that if I hadn't and if they hadn't been so open about it, it I would be in a very different place in my my journey now.

NORMA STANLEY: able to find your tribe.

Teresa Beard: Yes, and so so randomly because we had people on the west coast people in Texas my manager with CFS is in Canada, like all these people from all over the US and Canada coming together totally randomly like.

Teresa Beard: How my.

Teresa Beard: former director put together this team, I will never understand.

Teresa Beard: Because we just they were very much my tribe and very much still our other some of my closest friends, you know we don't talk every day anymore.

Nadine Vogel: That's great.


Nadine Vogel: so if we continue on the scary.thing.

Nadine Vogel: what's the scariest thing ever happened to you.

Teresa Beard: Oh i'm.

Teresa Beard: crap.

Teresa Beard: Honestly uh some of the situations, I found myself in in my younger days when I was online dating.

Teresa Beard: were absolutely terrifying and I was like a series of very stupid decisions on my part that led to some very scary situations, which is part of why I was so passionate about the job that I then did later.

Teresa Beard: i'm trying to prevent those same situations from happening to other people um the scariest situations that i've ever been in in my life have always been with other humans and never with you know go Sir aliens do scare the crap out of me.

Teresa Beard: But i've never met one.

Nadine Vogel: You gotta see right here.  yeah.

Teresa Beard: I don't know what it is about aliens man that's, just like the we I think we all have our like paranormal thing that like we don't want to talk about because it's just scary.

Nadine Vogel: Right. right.

Teresa Beard: For me it's aliens.

Nadine Vogel: No, I hear you and you know it's It is interesting, because I do just my personal opinion, and this is it you know I get teased a lot about this, my husband, I had been together since we were 14 years old, when I talk about dating you know people like yeah, what do you know.

Nadine Vogel: yeah right I you know, but when I when I think about online dating and both my daughters.

Nadine Vogel: date from online it just that scares the bejesus out of.

NORMA STANLEY: you and me both.

Nadine Vogel: yeah and.

Nadine Vogel: Adding with my older daughter, in particular, her disability.

Nadine Vogel: It really scares the crap out of me.

Nadine Vogel: And you know it just It just seems to be the way everybody does it these days.

Teresa Beard: yeah and it's a it's an interesting thing because I was 18-19 years old at the real dawn of the whole online dating thing in the early 2000s.

Teresa Beard: And like that's how I have always met my partners and, like my now ex husband and all my significant relationships have been people that I met online.

Teresa Beard: And for me, I am also really good at sussing out who is.

Teresa Beard: not great.

Teresa Beard: From like photos and.

Teresa Beard: essays and stuff like.

Teresa Beard: Especially now, after being you know elbows deep.

Teresa Beard: In that world for six years, but to me it was always like online shopping like you can go on Amazon and put in all these filters and.

Teresa Beard: You know these websites will spit out your options for who you can date that's I never got the same kind of sense about people that I met in real life that I did with people that I met on the internet.

Nadine Vogel: interesting.

NORMA STANLEY: i'll probably have to get some some tips from you about how to date online.

NORMA STANLEY: You know i'm just one of those people that if I had to go online, I may never date again in life.

NORMA STANLEY: Just can't I can't see it I can't see it but.

Teresa Beard: it's it's like I mean like i've been you know people have tried to pick me up in bars and whatever has happened to everybody, but like.

Teresa Beard: It like that was always the thing that I found so unbelievably sketchy like the thing that always freaked me out the most was like you'd walk into a public place and some dude would be.

Teresa Beard: up on you like wanting to.

Teresa Beard: get your number and i'm like who are you i'm trying to have a drink with my friend, can you please leave like.

Nadine Vogel: Right I know, I just it's true it's true again I wasn't in that world, so yeah okay.  

Teresa Beard:  yeah.

Nadine Vogel: It still scares the bejesus out of me.

Teresa Beard: It scares my mom too like you know, especially before I started working in online dating my mom would be like, are you out of your mind you met someone on the internet.

Nadine Vogel: Right, right.

Nadine Vogel: Well, I have my girls put on what is it it's like the find my phone says, I like I can see where they are and know where they are it's not now like creepy like i'm not following around all the time, but if they go out like I just kind of want to know some stuff.

Teresa Beard:  Yeah.

Nadine Vogel: So I can you know if anything happens, but anyway, I you know this has been amazing amazing interview I am just in love with you this.

Nadine Vogel: I could talk to you all day, unfortunately, we are out of time, so one last question, I would love to ask and norma you may have one as well, I would just like to know what do you consider your superpower, because I think you have a lot, but I want to hear what you think.

Teresa Beard: What my current superpower is.

Teresa Beard: is I think i'm easy to talk to people find me very easy to talk to, and like all.

Teresa Beard: That yeah all facets of my life so.

Nadine Vogel: Okay norma I think that's definitely a superpower of her yeah.

NORMA STANLEY: yeah definitely definitely I would ask you question, it would be on online dating and what was the one tip that you would give someone who has never done it and may want to do it.

Teresa Beard: Be vigilant.

Teresa Beard: And if you get a feeling that something is not right, it probably isn't do not ignore it, listen to your intuition.

Teresa Beard: If if if somebody is telling you one thing one day and something else the next day there's a problem RUN don't listen ferrexpo nation just run.

Nadine Vogel: This run and if you, and if you if you use a wheelchair. Wheel really fast.

Teresa Beard: Yes, really quickly.

Nadine Vogel: Well, on that note, I just want to say.

Nadine Vogel: Thank you once again Teresa This is just lovely speaking with you.

Teresa Beard: Yes, you too Thank you so much for having me.

Nadine Vogel: And I you know I know that our listeners enjoyed this today, and although the name of your podcast once again for people to listen is sh--t that scares me, I think that you do anything but scare people.

Nadine Vogel: Just fabulous to thank you and for our listeners, this was another episode of disabled lives matter more than a podcast it's a movement norma.

Nadine Vogel: Thank you dear.

NORMA STANLEY: We thank you, you are lovely all the wonderful guests we keep getting so stay tuned we have a lot more coming.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely take care, everybody bye bye.

Teresa Beard:  Bye.



Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the Podbean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advice, and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or listening device.




November 11, 2021

Season 1, Episode 37
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Sue Strand

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: hello, and welcome everyone to another wonderful episode of disabled lives matter I am nadine vogel your one of your co host with my other Co host norma.

NORMA STANLEY: Hello everyone.

Nadine Vogel: So norma and I, you know we talk all the time about this is not just a podcast, this is a movement.

Nadine Vogel: And you our listeners are helping us to make it a movement and bring it to.

Nadine Vogel: Not just people with disabilities, but people that don't have disabilities, because that's going to help them understand our world right and understand that people's lives, including the lives of people with disabilities do matter.

Nadine Vogel: And so today's guest, I think, is going to illustrate this point and probably better than anyone sue strand.  hello sue.

Sue Strand: Well hello everybody.

Sue Strand: Nadine and norma and everyone out there.

Sue Strand: who happens to be listening.

Nadine Vogel: So I want you to tell us to start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and the background and about disabled bikers what it is why you started it things like that.

Sue Strand: Well, a little bit about me.

Sue Strand: I have.

Sue Strand: my brother is the one that started this.

Nadine Vogel: And he passed away in.

Sue Strand: 2012.

Nadine Vogel: I'm sorry.

Sue Strand: And he left the company to me, and I am not a motorcycle rider, but I do understand this disability.

NORMA STANLEY: Side thing.

Sue Strand: His wife and him got into a motorcycle accident back in the late 70s, I believe it was, and she broke her back, and so my brother who built motorcycles, then.

Sue Strand: Developed how to be able to ride as a person, that is paralyzed from the waist down so he built her up a trike and then put in the wheelchair carrier so carrier so that she could join them in their rides, because that was something they were very, very passionate about.

Sue Strand: So he kind of developed.

Sue Strand: Things to work for people with disabilities, he was an amazing motorcycle builder he built motorcycles for the CEO of St jude's hospital and his wife.

Sue Strand: Yes, he was very, very good and along the lines of this he helped people that were disabled get back on the bike again.

Sue Strand: When he passed away I picked up and wanted his dream to carry on I didn't want that to die.

Sue Strand: So I have gotten in touch over the years, with many people who have products that help disabled people ride again whether they're a paraplegic.

Sue Strand: or they're just an amputee or they just have nerve problems or what getting older, getting up there, you know that kind of thing and that's basically, what I do, I like to help people find the resources to get back on the bikes awesome.

Nadine Vogel: that's just amazing I you know i've learned through my husband, in particular, that.

Nadine Vogel: When someone rides a motorcycle they are committed like they are all in right it's a lifestyle, especially you.

Sue Strand: know.

Nadine Vogel: A certain brands right like indian and Harley whatever.

Sue Strand: So.

Nadine Vogel: i've also learned that when someone becomes disabled not born disabled but but has an accident like your sister in law, did you know it's it's very difficult for them to imagine doing things that they did prior to the accident, even just basic things.

Nadine Vogel: So talk to me about you know someone becomes disabled has an accent, how do they even get their head around but they could potentially ride a motorcycle again.

Sue Strand: that's the whole it's most of what we do and what we have are for people that had never thought that they could do it again and they come upon us by accident.

Sue Strand: Ah, when they go oh my gosh you know and there's some there are some programs out there, that will help disabled people right again, for instance, if you were a vet and were injured and.

Sue Strand: In the line of duty, the vets got, had they have a program that they will pay to get you back on the bike again they will buy.

Sue Strand: upgrades every two years to put on your motorcycle and so forth, so that's one good thing and an insurance company if you're injured.

Sue Strand: In an can no longer keep your lifestyle, the way that you were doing it before your insurance will cover this and they will pay for you to get back on your bike again and the upgrades and the modifications, most people don't know that.

Sue Strand: i'm shocked.

Sue Strand: Well, they need to I mean they're they're paying for you to recover your lifestyle as close as possible, so there are programs out there and there's a lot of people who do poker runs and they dofundraisers if you're with a group of other bikers, they can put something like this together.

Sue Strand: They can make a motorcycle that was two wheels make it a trike with the trike kit and the dual brakes is up on the handlebars so you can run the front and the back breaks in one one motion.

Sue Strand: There are thumb throttles there are automatic clutches there's virtually so many different ways that we can get you back on the bike if you can still.

Sue Strand: ride a two wheel, but you just have trouble holding it up there's what's called kickstand that actually lowers down when you start to slow down and it comes up.

Sue Strand: onto the bike to keep it up right so that will help you get back on the bike that way too so there's so many different programs, and in fact I kind of forgot the question the you asked.

Nadine Vogel: I don't you know I need to because i'm so i'm so into listening to this i'm like.

Nadine Vogel: wow, so this is Marianne of products that I had no idea that exists 

Sue Strand: Yes.

Nadine Vogel: That can adapt right So how do you where do these products come from are the are the brand the big motorcycle brands, you know embracing this, or is this just individuals, how do you get those parts let's start with that.

Sue Strand: The majority are individuals who have developed something either for themselves or saw the need and feel the need.

Sue Strand: larger companies like Harley they have reverse kits that are on the new bikes and stuff that will help somebody but they really don't have any products other than that and that's the whole thing so many people are. Um

Sue Strand: Not.

Sue Strand: knowing anything about this industry you look at all the motorcycle dealers, you have someone that comes in the door, and they have.

Sue Strand: A possibly a limp or they're having difficulty or they're an amputee or whatever, this is going to increase those dealerships.

Sue Strand: Sales because they can modify  the bike if it's put on by a Harley dealership or a Honda dealership it does not void the warranty.

Sue Strand: So it's be included if it's put on by one of those professionals and most of the places out there don't if they just they don't know anything about it we've tried to reach out to them and, for some reason we're not getting the kind of response, but this would help everyone.

Sue Strand: Just so easy.

Nadine Vogel: Well, so oh gosh I have so many different things i'm thinking right so. there is

Nadine Vogel: NMEDA, which is the national mobility equipment dealers Association for cars way for automobiles to adapt them and have them.

Nadine Vogel: Adapting sort of in a certified way, so we know they're safe, etc, so what i'm hearing is there really isn't an equivalent of that for motorcycles at this point.

Sue Strand: Not that i've ever heard of.

Nadine Vogel: So your role, then, is in this process is really important process is what.

Sue Strand: I like to.

Sue Strand: I like to educate and try and reach out to the individuals to get ahold of if they're buying a motorcycle what we can do for them, or if they're looking for a motorcycle what we can adapt for them the modifications so it's basically not we individually, but.

Sue Strand: All of the the bike builders that are out there, the fabricators somebody that's within their area, there are certain things that we have on our website that actually.

Sue Strand: can be followed by someone, and so it doesn't cost them anything from us they're just some ideas and plans that they can use. Unfortunately this particular industry is very expensive.

Sue Strand: And that's The sad thing about it when we try and reach out to someone to make something.

Sue Strand: For us, that could be done on a regular basis, nine times out of 10 the ball gets dropped they don't go forward with it, so we have to buy what we can we have so many more ideas of what can be done if somebody is interested out there, they could make these things for customers and.

Sue Strand: and help to you know share it off with instructions, so the bike doesn't have to actually be there.

Nadine Vogel: So you have a so so disabled bikers has a collective, I guess, I would say, of individuals that can do the adaptations around the country, it sounds like.

Nadine Vogel: And then, as a result of that if people here of you have like through this podcast they will contact you and you put you kind of other connectors you put them together or help them understand how this is possible.

Sue Strand: Basically yeah but the honest thing is, we don't have a lot of people that we work with that are mechanics and so forth, if most of the motorcycle people out there have a mechanic that they go to anyway.

Sue Strand: They have someone.

Sue Strand: That they work with that person can contact us and we can tell them okay we've got this this and then since bike builder or fabricator or something they figure it out.

Sue Strand: And then they can help the customer with that we do have a few people, but not on a large scale it's mainly using your person that you already go to.

Sue Strand: or someone in your area that you can start going to that we can help with and anyone that's a custom builder should be able to figure it out pretty easily actually so.

Nadine Vogel: This is this is this is amazing to me norma I i'm just like you know i'm thinking about this and.

Nadine Vogel: If you're in general about motorcycles and then you think about this live here in general about motorcycles whoa how amazing.

NORMA STANLEY: Very cool I mean it makes me think maybe i'll get on one of those adaptable ones.

Nadine Vogel: [laughter.]

NORMA STANLEY: Me and Sierra. Do they make them for two.

Nadine Vogel: You never know.

Sue Strand: I tell you i'm with you i'm not a rider, and when I used to write on the back of my brothers, I was a little nervous, whereas.

Sue Strand: He was very cautious and very careful and there would be no need to be nervous, but when you think about all of the people out there that.

Sue Strand: don't consider a motorcycle when they're turning lanes when they're turning into something, and all of a sudden, they get hit.

Sue Strand: And then they're either dead or disabled or not, the same way that they used to be and their their bike is mangles or whatever it might be.

Sue Strand: But like I was saying, if it wasn't an accident that you're getting that cause you become disabled your insurance company or their insurance company, whoever paid for your medical bills has to pay for you to get back on your bike.

Sue Strand: And they have to pay for a bike and so forth, and so you can't just let these people go.

Sue Strand: Hold them to it, because they can they can take modifications and pay for it on a new bike and you can be back on the road again that's one thing about motorcycle riders they're just they.

Sue Strand: Being able to ride the motorcycle is everything to them, and when you take that away from them, they slowly basically just kind of sink into the distance.

Sue Strand: If they have the opportunity.

Sue Strand: Okay yeah i'm going to get a bike it's going to have a dual handbrake you'll have an auto clutch everything will be on the handlebars.

Sue Strand: or whatever it might be, we can switch around left side right side if something's not working well on their body and get them back in the wind that's amazing.

Nadine Vogel: that's something that I mean that's important on so many levels, but you know, like myself, I couldn't even imagine that this was possible, so we do need to go to commercial break as soon as we come back, though I do want to ask you about the disabled bikers initiative.

Nadine Vogel: and love to hear a love to have our listeners hear more about that so give us just one minute stay tuned everybody don't leave we'll be right back.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

Have you attended a springboard Consulting event? Well, you should, we have the best events and our 2022 events are just under way. Firstly is the Brg Summit happening on Tuesday, April 26th, and then following that is Disability Matters. North America Conference and Awards that's happening Wednesday and Thursday, April, 27 and 28. Both events are being delivered by a live stream. If interested in attending, please visit www.consultspringboard.com for more information.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.

Nadine Vogel: Hello everybody welcome back to today's episode of disabled lives matter Norma I today are talking with Sue strand owner of disabled bikers, first of all i'm i'm shocked at what can be done i'm shocked it if the what i've learned is how easy This can be done and.

Nadine Vogel: Without a lot of money right that insurance companies will actually help fund this so that if you are a rider or you were a rider before your accident, you can be a rider today.

Nadine Vogel: And Sue Sue you know we were talking before about how do we turn this into really an initiative that we can get the big biking brands arms and legs around, and I was, I was shocked to hear what you share with us so, can you share with our listeners how you've tried to do this.

Sue Strand: Absolutely within the past 10 years i've actually tried to contact every single Harley dealership by email and or phone in the United States, I have a full list of them, as well as in Canada and basically nothing no response they're not i'm not asking them to buy products.

Sue Strand: i'm just trying to.

Sue Strand: get them aware that if they have someone who is disabled or having just has you know little issues and stuff like that that they can ride again.

Sue Strand: And, and to be able to say to a person that walks into the dealership I know exactly where we can go, so you can get back on a bike.

Sue Strand: But no, no response, however, there has been customers who go into some Harley dealerships, for instance, and they say hey i've heard about this, can you get ahold of this company and see if you know you can get me on the win on the bike again, and they have called me.

Sue Strand: But for them to just have the information to the parts in the sales department or wherever it might be have someone and just say hey I know of a company that can help you with this and we can put it on your bike i'm not asking them to send it somewhere else i'm trying to make them. know that they can have an answer for this person.

NORMA STANLEY: But you're driving traffic to them.

NORMA STANLEY: that's interesting.

Sue Strand: yeah yeah.

Nadine Vogel: Do you think so, do you think it's an issue of they're worried about liability that if they do it, and they do it wrong that the person, you know will get hurt further I mean I don't know i'm just. speculating.

Sue Strand: Well you know.

Sue Strand: Even a brand new bike if a person doesn't know how to ride, it can get hurt as soon as they leave the parking lot, you know that. that's just a

Sue Strand: Possibility this as long as it's put on if you're bike's under warranty as long as it's put on by a Harley dealership if you've got a Harley bike a Honda dealership so forth, and so on, they put it on it's included in the warranty you don't lose anything and.

Sue Strand: it's.

Sue Strand: it's no different a modification of this is no different than putting in a handicap ramp or a handicap.

Sue Strand: bathroom it's something that should be allowed to every dealership So if you walk in and you say hey I heard about this disabled bikers place an, and I know that they have.

Sue Strand: Left sided foot controls.

Nadine Vogel: or right side.

Sue Strand: You know, whatever it might be, can you reach out to them that's perfectly fine we even helped them get a discount to.

Sue Strand: To people, we also offer a veterans discount personally and we offer anyone who belongs to motorcycle association a discount as well, so just trying to get them unfortunately most parts are very expensive.

Sue Strand: yeah and a lot of these people don't have the money for it.

Nadine Vogel: Well norma, I think you and I need to noodle on this and.


Nadine Vogel: Just feel it, you know I don't know if if they're afraid of how it's going to associate with the brand I you know, I would just love to I would love to have a conversation with someone.


NORMA STANLEY: And again, people have to understand that you know we're all just one incident away from being absolutely part of this Community so many opportunities for them to.

NORMA STANLEY: a leveraged by reaching out to not only the people who may need.

NORMA STANLEY: That for a family network and friends, I mean they would love that.

Nadine Vogel: But i'm wondering i'm wondering if it's not like a brand issue right.

Nadine Vogel: They don't want to have their brand associated with.

Nadine Vogel: You know you're going to get you're going to fall you're going to get disabled on your bike and ever blah blah blah right so i'm just wondering if they're trying to just be quiet about it, but having said that.

Nadine Vogel: That you know, promoting it is different than at least taking the information and saying hey we're a resource, if something happens so that's that little different, but.

NORMA STANLEY: At least be be amenable to the idea.

Nadine Vogel: is absolute just like I said, like NMEDA right.

Nadine Vogel: for cars, I mean everybody knows at some. point. they'll have an accident.

Nadine Vogel: or whatever so that's just troubling on so many levels so.

Sue Strand: It is, I've been bashing my head against the wall for 10 years trying to get them to to notice.

Nadine Vogel: I was going to say.

Nadine Vogel: No go ahead, go ahed.

Sue Strand: Well, I was just going to say we contacted Harley and they were very interested, but they wanted us to send a.

Sue Strand: will have to make at least 100,000 in one year to be considered to be somebody that they would send out to their people so.

Sue Strand: With That said, you know there's no way we can show that we make a hundred thousand dollars a year.

Sue Strand: And so we stopped with that, but we contact the individual ones, and they can contact us they have put these parts on their customers motorcycle in their shops, they are the ones that have contacted us yes it's perfectly they're happy about it.

Nadine Vogel: Okay well we're gonna have to add this list.  there is more work to be done.

Sue Stand:  so okay.

Nadine Vogel: So, so you know well, first let's start it is folks out there, listening to this how do they get in touch with you let's start with that.

Sue Strand: Well it's disabled, just like the word says di a ab l E D dash bikers, with an s.com and then there's contact information they're.

Nadine Vogel: Disabled bikers COM.

Sue Strand: disabled dash bikers dot com 

Nadine Vogel: bikers days or disable dash bikers, yes.

Sue Strand: Thank you. So.

Nadine Vogel: You know, there was an article that that that I had seen that i'd read about what you were doing, I think the title was the road doesn't end here.

Nadine Vogel: And I love that right so thinking about this, the road doesn't end here, what do you see for the future, for the work you're doing for people with disabilities, relative to bikes, what do you see.

Sue Strand: Well we're just going to still hammer it out just try and we're there in case somebody contacts us we've tried so many different avenues but, honestly, I just want to keep my brother's dream alive that he was passionate about this and.

Sue Strand: So many people that i've spoken to a lot of them say oh my gosh I didn't know this even existed.

Sue Strand: wow you mean I can get back on my bike i've not been able to ride for 10 years you're kidding me right and it's just it's exciting so.

Sue Strand: i'll be here i'll be waiting for anyone who wants to contact us we've tried so many different ways and possibilities and it just people just are not opening up to it.

Nadine Vogel: And what about for someone who's never written before, but now they are disabled, and they would like to take up motorcycle riding as a disabled person How does that work.

Sue Strand: For the first and foremost, is to take some lessons, you need to learn how to ride a bike prop properly and in every state or every city, most of the This is very easy to do.

Sue Strand: If you that's your first and foremost, if they're disabled get a trike or buy a bike that you can afford or that you like.

Sue Strand: And then we'll get a trike kit so they take off the back wheel they put on a two wheels and and makes it into a three wheeled trike very simple if they need a wheelchair carrier, we have those.

Sue Strand: If they need the handle bars to be accessible only we can do that anything I mean, even if you're a very, very short person very short and you have trouble reaching the handlebars and the foot, yes, one there, there are ways of adapting to that as well.

Nadine Vogel: wow that's that's just amazing.

NORMA STANLEY:  That's awesome.

Nadine Vogel: And so my.

Nadine Vogel: last question, because we are running out of time is you are located in South Dakota I believe you have sturgis which is like you know is a large motorcycle event.

Sue Strand: yes.

Nadine Vogel: Do you see individuals with disabilities at sturgis riding there.

Sue Strand: my brother used to go to sturgis every single year, since he was like 17 years old, and he died when he was 56 I believe so, anyway, he.

Sue Strand: He had a booth there, and he would go there every year, and he would talk to people and get involved with other companies and show them So yes, there are a lot of people out there with disabilities, that that do ride and.

Sue Strand: Many of them that that don't just show up and they walk around you know so because they don't know.

Sue Strand: That they could ride again so yeah it's and especially age wise, as we get older many things are.

Sue Strand: Not as easy as they were before you know, and so they stopped riding because of that well we've got ways to work around that too, so you know, whatever it might be let us now we'll figure it out together we'll get in touch with you and talk about what you need.

Nadine Vogel: Is this amazing, I mean norma isn't this incredible.

NORMA STANLEY: This is so awesome and I just ask any media coverage about what you guys do because I think if more people knew that you existed in with the kind of work that you're doing.

NORMA STANLEY: I think you would get a lot more, you need the visibility that's that's going to be important, and I was just wondering had there been any you know major network.

Sue Stand: No.

NORMA STANLEY: So we have to do something.

Nadine Vogel: yeah yeah yeah you know on of the things I love about these  podcasts is that you know norma you and I, like we.

Nadine Vogel: We get the you know we get the pleasure and the honor of hearing about these amazing these amazing businesses and programs and thing yeah disabilities that even for us that work in this space didn't know about so.


Nadine Vogel: This is terrific so Sue Thank you very much.

Nadine Vogel: Norma and I are going to noodle and figure out how to get you out there more and.

Nadine Vogel: For our listeners, we hope you enjoyed today's session, as much as we did hearing about this, if you have a disability, you know if someone that has a disability they love to ride they road before or they're just getting older and need some help.

Nadine Vogel: Please contact disabled dash bikers.com so wishing everyone a wonderful week and we'll look forward to seeing you on disabled lives matter for our next next version norma take care.

NORMA STANLEY: Thank you everybody.

Sue Strand:  Bye!  Thank you.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the Podbean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advice, and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or listening device.




November 5, 2021

Season 1, Episode 36
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: Yannick Benjamin and George Gallego


Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: Okay Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of disabled lives matter, yes, we are a podcast but more than that, we are a movement and this movement, I am joined by my co host the amazing Norma Stanley.

NORMA STANLEY: Hello everybody.

Nadine Vogel: Hello.

Nadine Vogel: I can't believe it's November.

Nadine Vogel: Does anybody else have that shock I I know it comes every year.

Nadine Vogel: Thanksgiving comes every year, but I don't know I always seem to be surprised by it.

NORMA STANLEY: Time's has flown by this year.

Nadine Vogel: Time is flying absolutely, so we are joined by two fabulous guests, today we have Yannick Benjamin and George Gallego, I would like to start with you Yannick, and I can tell us just a little bit about who you are what you do and why you do it.

Yannick Benjamin: yeah so thank you both for having me on it's such an honor very excited but a long story short, my whole background is in the hospitality industry i'm also born and raised in New York, both of my parents.

Nadine Vogel: Woo!


[Lots of laughter]

Norma Stanley:  We are New Yorkers too.

Yannick Benjamin: Yeah, good okay we're like the last of the Mohicans you know what I mean. yeah but I really you know, had a really great childhood, I think, overall, I mean I grew up on 47 street and 10th avenue you know right down the block from Times Square.

Yannick Benjamin: You know, and my parents were incredibly generous and really good honest, hard working people and I just kind of followed in their footsteps they were both in the hospitality industry.

Yannick Benjamin: And that's what I wanted to do from a very early age and basically.

Yannick Benjamin: I was able bodied working in restaurants loving every minute of it and in 2003 I was in a car accident that left me permanently paralyzed but really through the support.

Yannick Benjamin: Through the love through the just the motivation that I was surrounded by was able to continue to pursue.

Yannick Benjamin: That objective my dream of working in restaurants working in hospitality and and you know co founding a restaurant that I currently have.

Yannick Benjamin: With George Gallego, and so I would be I would I would be the biggest biggest liar to say I did this on my own, I was very blessed to be surrounded by so many great people.

Nadine Vogel: And, and the name of the restaurant is Contento. yes.

Yannick Benjamin: Contento. exactly correct.

Nadine Vogel: In East Harlem I think right.

Yannick Benjamin: that's right 88 East 111 street between Park and Madison.

NORMA STANLEY: that's where I used to live.

Nadine Vogel: To all our listening listeners, this is where you guys need to go right.


Nadine Vogel: This is where you need to do and you're also the Co founder I think of a program called Wine on Wheels.

Yannick Benjamin: Correct correct and so Wine of Wheels our initiative is really to bring awareness raise money, especially our main initiative is really to kind of.

Yannick Benjamin: You know, bring awareness, to the hospitality industry about inclusivity about breaking barriers, hopefully, within the next few years, along with George Gallego i'm really trying to see.

Yannick Benjamin: You know, restaurants, hotels in any other forms of hospitality businesses to employ more people with disabilities and to help them along the way, as well.

Yannick Benjamin: And that's really the goal and the objective and then also to raise money for programs, like the Access Project that George Diego will tell you more about shortly.

Nadine Vogel: Excellent excellent, and I know that for both of you, your tagline you put in places "access for all," and I, you know that says it all right. I think that says it all.

Nadine Vogel: And, and you know I love I love Yannick that as a sommelier.

Yannick Benjamin: I finally got that right.

Nadine Vogel: i'm feeling you take it you've taken this background that you have and its talent and turned it into something that not only is good for people of all walks of life, but especially for individuals with disabilities, which.

Nadine Vogel: And it was really important we always say you know disabled lives really do matter well.

Yannick Benjamin: sure.

Nadine Vogel: Is this is it right so George tell us a little bit about your background and what you're doing.

George G.: you're so born and raised in New York.

Nadine Vogel: Woo!

George G.: we're all native new yorkers.

George G.: And and really raised and raised in brooklyn in williamsburg a which has evolved quite a bit, just like East Harlem has come a very long way from from word was back in the days.


Nadine Vogel:  I'm a Bronx girl.

George G.: All good. Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan.

George G.: Queens we're all new Yorkers so it's all good so as far as as far as disabilities concern I wasn't born with a disability, I, too, had an accident which caused me to become spinal cord injured.

George G.: I fell from a height equivalent to three stories while working landed on my back from the impact I severed my spinal cord.

George G.: So both Yannick and I, and I are spinal cord injured his level is a little higher than mine.

George G.: I am a T-10, T-11 I think Yannick you're a.

Yannick Benjamin: T-six.

George G.: T-six Okay, which which basically the so the main there's a difference in in everyone and every disability that everyone has experienced, but the difference between Yannick and I is basically.

George G.: The abs right, I may have a few more abs then Yannick is his injury starts from the chest upward and mine actually starts from the naval upward.

Yannick Benjamin: much, much better looking stomach than I do you know I got that little kangaroo pouch you know.

George G.: You know you look good.

George G.: so late in life really was extremely challenging after my injury, because I went from a very active lifestyle to live in a very sedentary lifestyle, I went from 160, 170 pounds up to 350 pounds.

George G.: And yeah and that's that's what happens when you rely on pain meds to deal with any any nerve issues that you may have, as well as spasms and pain in general.

George G.: So, but it took me 10 years to actually turn that around once I realized that my life was heading like quickly in a downward spiral.

George G.: I decided to first start working on myself physically, so I started exercising doing simple things and then over time, I was able to drop the weight on back down to about one well i'm I weighed less than I did before. So i'm probably at 155.

Nadine Vogel: Excellent.

George G.: And.

Nadine Vogel: Congratulations.

George G.: Thank you, thank you and I realized that getting physical getting involved in athletics.

George G.: played a huge role in my ability to be able to bounce back so primarily because once I was able to embrace my physical self everything else.

George G.: flowed after that I was able to embrace myself mentally emotionally and just move onward and upward so as far as as far as my work history is concerned, as I worked, I was in a newspaper industry, I won't name the company, I worked for cause they were horrible after my injury.

George G.: But yeah but everything changes after injury, you find yourself reinventing yourself not just once but over and over and over and if you're able to accept the fact that life will just continue to evolve, then, then you can live life to the fullest.

George G.: As far as Contento is concerned, I have never been involved in the hospitality industry in a way that Yannick was.

George G.: Never worked in a restaurant, although I love to visit restaurants.

George G.: The but the work that I have done and Yannick really helped me realize that, although I didn't work directly in the hospitality world i've always been.

George G.: involved in in giving and transfer helping transform lives, so, in a sense, thanks to the Yannick, I was able to view this through a different lens.

George G.: So the work that i've done in helping others and helping people find their path in life was similar to what Yannick has been doing all his life in the hospitality industry right, it was really all about making feel making folks feel comfortable.

George G.: With themselves and with with their surroundings and helping them really just move forward, you know embrace and move on.

Nadine Vogel: Excellent.  Thank you i'm curious I mean, I have some very specific questions for both of you or relative to the business, but I am curious how did the two of you come together.

George G.: yeah. It's a long story. So.


George G.: yeah no we We will give you the condensed version.

Nadine Vogel: Okay.

George G.: So so i've been injured for almost 30 years now and Yannick and Yannick has you're going on 18 years.

Yannick Benjamin: eighteen correct correct exactly. 

George G.: Exactly so when.

George G.: So when you Yannick was first injured, I was part of a mentoring program and that's how we initially connected, I always Yannick and I will connected through the mentoring program at Mount Sinai hospital.

George G.: and also through.

George G.: The New York City chapter of the United spinal association and our our connection our friendship had evolved from that point onward.

Nadine Vogel: Very cool really yeah it's it's it's a great story and we haven't even started with the story yet oh my gosh.

Nadine Vogel: So, so you know talk to us a little bit about what are the challenges that you guys face having a disability owned restaurant, you know I mean, I think I think restaurant ownership is tough, no matter what.

Nadine Vogel: We add covid to it, of late it got tougher, but I suspect that you know, having disabilities has made it if not tougher at least very different so i'd love to hear about that.

Yannick Benjamin: Well, I mean I you know i'll speak for myself, you know I think what what's really important to emphasize is that exactly what George just said, because he's in a wheelchair and I'm in a wheelchair.

Yannick Benjamin: We, we do have different needs and we we do things differently, based on our level of injury and this applies to people in the low vision community.

Yannick Benjamin: Hard of Hearing everyone's got different needs, so I think that's you know one thing that we really have to emphasize, you know so it's a very broad category.

Yannick Benjamin: As for me, you know it's been really a blessing in disguise, in the best possible way, and when I tell you that, Contento.

Yannick Benjamin: Is a beast I say that, in the most polite way it is incredibly busy, and you know for listen i'm you know i'm a 44 year old guy right and.

Yannick Benjamin: For an able body person working in a place that's it's physically demanding you've got to move, you know even for myself, you know I worked out every day I take care of myself and eat right, you know.

Yannick Benjamin: and physically like at the end of the day, I am like wiped you know and and not only that, but um you know you've got to be on right, so you know that that emotional connection you've got to constantly be on your.

Yannick Benjamin: On your in my case, not on my toes but on my wheels right and so that that can be really you know.

Yannick Benjamin: You know draining mentally and then and then physically just you know bending here bending there all of that, you know what what what might be easier for an able body person when they're serving wine.

Yannick Benjamin: For me it's really taking that effort so that, from a personal standpoint um you know takes a lot out, you know it is, it is exhausting and I would I would never try to.

Yannick Benjamin: camouflage and pretend that i'm Superman that that oh yeah yeah yeah i'm doing it just like everybody know it takes a lot for sure.

Nadine Vogel: Right, right. No, I get it so i'm curious, if you think about you know people that you admire and then this goes to both of you, you know it's there's someone out there, that you say I just I really admired the most.

Yannick Benjamin: I look, I mean George George there I guess.

Nadine Vogel:  George.

Yannick Benjamin: All right, I mean yeah I mean listen, first and foremost, I think you know, obviously the the person that the two people that I admire the most who definitely my parents.

Yannick Benjamin: I am, where I am today because of them my value system is based on who they are, and what they taught me and and i'm just simply practicing what I learned from them.

Yannick Benjamin: But I was also very much influenced by the Christian brothers that were teachers in my elementary school.

Yannick Benjamin: So I do have a deep admiration for some of them that I grew up with you know.

Yannick Benjamin: That taught me, I mean, obviously we already know we don't have to go too deep but there's certainly a lot a lot, a lot of things that I definitely disagree with.

Yannick Benjamin: The in the Catholic religion but as far as who they were and how they.

Yannick Benjamin: empowered me and how they influenced me I I owe a great deal to them, I always admired their servitude the fact that they sacrifice the greater good to have an approach of family or being in a relationship.

Yannick Benjamin: So yeah I would say, those are people that I definitely admire there's a gentleman to that I worked with at Le Cirque, which is a very famous restaurant that's now close his name is.

Yannick Benjamin: Ciro Marchioni and I often find myself thinking about him every day, a lot, you know and he's someone that I definitely deeply admired as well.

Nadine Vogel: And it was that, because of what he built and what he did in the industry.

Yannick Benjamin: yeah I mean I think he was like you know, Mr cool right.

Yannick Benjamin: And I I always loved me he just simply had that kind of cool factor that it factor and.

Yannick Benjamin: You know I met him when I was a very young kid getting into this industry and Le Cirque at that time was the Center of the universe and.

Yannick Benjamin: He just kind of invited me in that world and I wouldn't say that he he really grabbed me my my my my by my hand but he you know, without he in directly impacted my life.

Yannick Benjamin: Very much to who I am today So yes, yes, someone that I, I always think about.

Nadine Vogel: So, so when we think about you know Norma and I talked about that you know will go out to restaurants, will take our daughters, who have disabilities will go out with us.

Nadine Vogel: You know I remember when my older daughter was younger and she was being fed through G tube and we're feeding her in the middle of a restaurant right, you know lots lots of issues, so I certainly understand the importance of creating this this culture of inclusivity in the. Industry.

Nadine Vogel: But maybe you could talk to us about you know how do we get from here to there, because if.

Nadine Vogel: there's a lot right, this is the employees, like you talked about.

Nadine Vogel: and hiring people in the hospitality industry that had disabilities but it's also how we serve people with disabilities.

Yannick Benjamin: correct and I think that's a great question and it's a it's a really important topic right because it's.

Yannick Benjamin: First and foremost, you can create a restaurant or a business that has perfect universal design that's barrier free.

Yannick Benjamin: But if you don't have that culture of empathy if you don't have that culture of welcoming and just you know have your stuff educated on how to deal with.

Yannick Benjamin: People of all different backgrounds than that universal design is useless right, it means absolutely nothing.

Yannick Benjamin: And so I think you know one obviously that continuation of education, the other side, and when I say, the other side, meaning people that work in the industry.

Yannick Benjamin: In the restaurant and the hotel and any other business, the ability to be able to listen, the ability to be able to see like I don't know, and I want to learn, please teach me.

Yannick Benjamin: With That being said, I know, when I go to a restaurant i'm a full time wheelchair user i'm paralyzed from the waist down.

Yannick Benjamin: I get it, I understand that I can't expect everybody to possibly know what I need right, so I feel like as long as I ate they have this energy of like him, and we are so happy to have you here.

Yannick Benjamin: Is there anything that we can do to make you feel comfortable, are there any use simple terminology terminology, but.

Yannick Benjamin: You know I know that I can't go in there, thinking that they are going to know everything that I need so I feel like I have a responsibility, as someone with a disability to just simply guide them and direct them.

Yannick Benjamin: And that's all it takes and just kind of talk to them and they appreciate it, I feel like sometimes.

Yannick Benjamin: We may be in our Community, and when I say our Community, people with disabilities, we often expect the other side to know things.

Yannick Benjamin: And you know what we do have a we have a responsibility, one to advocate for ourselves, but let's reach over the aisle.

Yannick Benjamin: And let let's use that opportunity to teach them and that's what it comes down to so you know not only just beat not only advocacy but also being an ambassador for the disability community, we have to also do that as well. Does that answer your question.

Nadine Vogel:  Yeah absolutely it's um and you right there's so much there because you know someone can come in the restaurant, who is blind, so we can come in who's a wheelchair users someone can come in who's death, I mean you know.

Nadine Vogel: there's all different disabilities, but I think to your point it's it's a it's two parts right it's you being willing and able to convey your needs but it's, on the other side for the restaurant owner and management to be willing to receive the information.

Yannick Benjamin: Yes

Nadine Vogel: And accommodate as needed.

Nadine Vogel: And I think that last part is the part that many of us struggle with. Sometimes.

Yannick Benjamin:  Yes yeah no no absolutely I mean listen it's up I think it's a it's a constant.

Yannick Benjamin: evolution, which is great I think we're definitely years behind, maybe even decades behind on where we should be with accommodations for people with disabilities, of all backgrounds intellectual physical neurological you name it.

Yannick Benjamin: But I do think that things have started to happen, I mean listen um and, as I say, always and George as well there's there's over 60 million Americans with disabilities, I think it's a one in four and so those are numbers that we can no longer ignore because we have to take seriously.

Yannick Benjamin: You know so that's that's where we're at right now, and I think that people that that own restaurants people that work in restaurants or any kind of hospitality, outlet.

Yannick Benjamin: has to say hey you know, we need to figure this out, because there are people that have a disability that want to spend money.

Yannick Benjamin: But they're not going out they're not going out because.

Yannick Benjamin: There is fear of rejection this fear of like i'm going to go there and they're going to make me feel uncomfortable so what may seem like an expensive concept to make your restaurant accessible but long term your return on investment.

Yannick Benjamin: is going to be there and we have seen that at Contento and i'll tell you what I want to make this very clear, you know, first and foremost foremost we're you know we're a small restaurant right.

Yannick Benjamin: We really are ideally you know if we could, if we had the money we had the resources we would have a restaurant that's 5000 square feet.

Yannick Benjamin: and tables be spaced out, we will do the whole shebang that's not the reality of it, but the most important thing is creating a culture of.

Yannick Benjamin: have been inviting have an empathy and saying hey we are here for you just tell us what you need to do what you need and we're going to make it happen.

Nadine Vogel: Right right absolutely and norma, I mean Sierra your daughter she's she uses a wheelchair, so I mean you live this every day right.

NORMA STANLEY: Absolutely, and I just love the fact that you know what he said, where it is the onus is on us to as customers.

NORMA STANLEY: With them family members with wheelchairs or individuals who may be using wheelchairs, or may have a disability, just to kind of I guess put pride aside and say you know what I could use your help in this area.


NORMA STANLEY: establishment to make you more comfortable just something that I guess you know we don't do, and we do probably expect more of the.

Yannick Benjamin. Yes.

NORMA STANLEY: People at the restaurant or at the establishment and they may actually prepared.

NORMA STANLEY: right to be able to address, so this a two-way street um but at the same time, you know I just think I love this and to be able to eat at your restaurant next time I'm in New York.

NORMA STANLEY: That's my old neighborhood.

Nadine Vogel: Well you know.  It's it's one of these things you know i've been to many restaurants and I go to use the restroom and they'll say yes, you know there is an accessible restroom, but then there's like a high chair, or something blocking.


Nadine Vogel: You have to.

Nadine Vogel: navigate around you can't get in there and i'm thinking really.

Nadine Vogel: You know, and I and i'm.

Nadine Vogel: I have no issue saying something and and I, 

Yanick Benjamin:  Good. 

Nadine Vogel: you know I say something all they time, but you know they look at me like I have four heads it it's just.

Nadine Vogel: Yes, really I just makes me makes me crazy well, we need, we must, I could well I don't even want to stop, but we need to take a short commercial break.

Nadine Vogel: But when we come back, we are going to talk more with Yannick Benjamin and with George Gallego and we will find George we may have lost him oh.

Nadine Vogel: So stay tuned everybody don't go anywhere.

Voiceover:  And now it's time for a commercial break.

Have you attended a springboard Consulting event? Well, you should, we have the best events and our 2022 events are just under way. Firstly is the Brg Summit happening on Tuesday, April 26th, and then following that is Disability Matters. North America Conference and Awards that's happening Wednesday and Thursday, April, 27 and 28. Both events are being delivered by a live stream. If interested in attending, please visit www.consultspringboard.com for more information.

Voiceover:  And now back to our show.


Nadine Vogel: Hello everyone and welcome back to today's episode of disabled lives matter we are here with the amazing Yannick Benjamin.

Nadine Vogel: and his business partner George Gallego and we're talking about there with sounds like an fabulous restaurant I can't wait to go Contento in East Harlem and you know.

Nadine Vogel: When we when we left before commercial break, we were talking about asking for what you need right, and you know I brought up the example of your restaurants that yeah, this is an accessible restroom you just can't get in there, but, but we have one so.

Nadine Vogel: You know it's one of these things where.

Nadine Vogel: it's what you know what does it take first and foremost, to have a great restaurant, what are the key components of having a great restaurant and then How does that change if it changes to be a great restaurant and i'm going to put this in quotes for all.

Yannick Benjamin: Right. Well, first of all, first and foremost almost i'm always shocked when I meet people that work in the hospitality industry and they tell me how they hate people.

Yannick Benjamin: Very strange thing to hear, but you, you know if you're going to be in this industry you've got to like people you've got to be able to like to interact hear their stories and and, first and foremost.

Yannick Benjamin: sort of kind of make them the priority right it's about creating experience for them now, I want to make one thing very clear, I am not I don't believe in that philosophy that the customer is always right.


Yannick Benjamin: I don't do that because I think that there's plenty of times, where the customer is wrong.

Yannick Benjamin: And I tell the rest of the staff at Contento that if you feel at any moment that someone is making you feel uncomfortable or being disrespectful.

Yannick Benjamin: Do not take that or let me know, and I will handle it I think that's really important especially.

Yannick Benjamin: Now that we're heading into this new era post covid you really you really have to love people, you have to be passionate about food and and and beverage.

Yannick Benjamin: And within that figure out what it would genre you really are passionate about whether it's South American Food French, Italian, whatever it is, it could be anything fast food doesn't make a difference.

Yannick Benjamin: So you you the food that you serve the beverages that you serve are all stuff that you would be willing to eat yourself and something that you would.

Yannick Benjamin: enjoy at your own home, so I think if you do that, then you've got to create an ambience I mean you can have the best, the most expensive interior designer.

Yannick Benjamin: create your restaurant, but if it doesn't have the energy and the ambiance of welcoming then it's going to be a total utter failure, and I think the best restaurants that i've ever been to sometimes they just have a very minimalist approach.

Yannick Benjamin: But when you go there it's just like it.

Yannick Benjamin: there's this energy of welcoming and love and i'm like okay that's it and I think listen Contento certainly has been able to do that for sure so you've got to be able to create that energy that's that's, the most important thing okay.


Nadine Vogel: So. How did you and George actually come together to to you know, in terms of Contento, specifically like what was what was the idea.

Yannick Benjamin: yeah so George is all as he likes to describe himself and I totally agree he calls himself a social entrepreneur, you know, and it was always on the go he's got his hands in different projects, I was working you know all the time in different restaurants different hospitality establishments.

Yannick Benjamin: And George being the mentor that he is and just kind of the go getters a Yannick like why don't you work for yourself hey i'm working for other people and i'm like George this industry's, a beast.

Yannick Benjamin: It is hard like yeah I don't know.

Yannick Benjamin: Well, anyway, fast forward right down the block from where he lives because he lives on 111 between park and Madison at this in this beautiful building.

Yannick Benjamin: And there was a spot that was open, he said, I think there's something very interesting, you should come check it out and I looked at it and the rent was incredibly low was like almost like hard to believe, and he said I would love to be involved, and you know that's.

Yannick Benjamin: that's all she wrote after that.

Nadine Vogel: That that's that's that's amazing that really is I love the simplicity of that don't you norma.


NORMA STANLEY: it's the connection that's what I call it and exactly and actually my in laws live a block away.

NORMA STANLEY: From your restaurant so.

NORMA STANLEY: I will defintely be they're on 110th and.


Yannick Benjamin: Oh well, have them come by we would love to have them. Absolutely.

NORMA STANLEY:  Absolutely.

Nadine Vogel:  So George. Your back yay!

George G.: I'm Back yeah so I.

George G.: So, as I mentioned earlier, I'm at the space that we're building out and my HVAC guys are here and we, the power went down temporarily I didn't realize it happened until.

George G.: The Internet and everything went down.

George G.: So we had connection, but not.

Nadine Vogel: No problem.

Nadine Vogel: So so George let me ask you this, what do you think it's going to take to get more people with disabilities in the hospitality industry.

Nadine Vogel: Because I can see so many different issues like we don't have more so, what do you think it's going to take.

George G.: So I so Yannick is going to handle one part, and together we'll handle the second part, so.

George G.: Yannick has already started the movement within the.

George G.: hospitality industry and he's got folks really accepting idea of having people with disabilities all types of disabilities within their workspace.

George G.: There are certain things as a person, as a person with a mobility impairment, that I can do.

George G.: Obviously, certain things that I cannot do and I accept that but i'm willing to do the best that I can do in those areas that I can actually maneuver.

George G.: And, and so folks within the hospitality industry are receptive to the message right, but the second part is to get folks in a disability community.

George G.: To to believe in themselves and and and realize that they can change to the point where they can actually move on in life and accepted a position and hospitality industry.

George G.: But there's so many fears involved, you know within folks in the disability Community you know people are afraid of losing their their healthcare benefits they're afraid to you to lose their.

George G.: Their fixed incomes, the SSI or the ssdI and many don't realize that that life will definitely change it become better once you actually have a sustainable income that's not a fixed income.

George G.: So, so what Yannick and I intend on doing is within within the space of Content, and also whether this new space that we're building in East Harlem.

George G.: We plan plan on utilizing both spaces to create programs to focus on on on making these changes within the minds of the folks that we're working with whether it's it's the folks in the hospitality industry or our comrades in a disability Community.

Nadine Vogel: Excellent excellent.

Nadine Vogel: I imagine is like fears of you know, even just accessibility of the kitchens right, if not, if not the the dining rooms themselves just the kitchens, because I know we have a whole team that does.

Nadine Vogel: Universal design physical accessibility audit things like that and we've gone into restaurants and we've gotten even into corporations, where they've had you know, on site cafeterias and we go into the kitchen and we look around and we're like yeah no this won't work.

Yannick Benjamin: yeah Nadine, I just want to say one thing, I think, though, I you know one thing that's a major issue, too, is if we had universal health care if we, had guaranteed like.

Yannick Benjamin: medicaid was provided just across the board, I think it would relieve some of the anxieties that that most people with disabilities have.

Yannick Benjamin: And I think one of the main issues now imagine if you're just able body right and you found yourself working at like a really good hotel company right let's say the Marriott right where they offer pretty great benefits great.

Yannick Benjamin: private insurance and you have a very intimate relationship with your Ob gyn your gynecologist your your urologist right.

Yannick Benjamin: And all of a sudden there's a new job that there's an opportunity right.

Yannick Benjamin: You may not take that job only for the fact, because the insurance that they're offering now is no longer in network with the Ob gyn the gynecologist your urologist that you've been seeing for all that time.

Yannick Benjamin: And you know the system that we have it there's a form of oppression toward with it.

Yannick Benjamin: And so that in itself is an issue, so if you if you if you rely on a home attendant to come in two hours in the morning to get you out of bed.

Yannick Benjamin: You know you're relying on 150 catheters you know now you're kind of playing with fire, because you don't know what that private insurance can do to you right you don't.

Yannick Benjamin: And so, that is the biggest issue, and so what we need to do is get really powerful voices in the hospitality industry to come together and why not get a nationalized.

Yannick Benjamin: Healthcare insurance plan, and I think if you get that locked in, I can tell you, you will see more people more.

Yannick Benjamin: Not more diverse people working in the industry, but it's still an industry that's incredibly volatile and lock structure and until we get that down I think it's going to be very complicated.

Nadine Vogel: So i'm i'm imagining that the two of you are going after Congress going after all the major industry organizations speaking at their conferences, yes.

George G.: All I wanted was to open a small restaurant that's all I wanted.

George G.: And it's now evolved into this.

George G.: This this movement, which is, which is really it's really amazing and it's not something that that we anticipated but it's the path that we're on now.

Nadine Vogel: yeah. No you guys.

Nadine Vogel: should be at these like you know industry, conferences and be talking about this right, this is.

NORMA STANLEY: I was on a recent conversation with one of the food writers for the nations restaurant news magazine, and I definitely think that y'all should have a conversation.

Nadine Vogel: Norma can you make an introduction.

NORMA STANLEY: Definitely do that I can definitely do it.

Nadine Vogel: All right, yeah we got we got to get this story out there bigger bigger, better because.

Nadine Vogel: it's that important so we've been talking about all the really cool things positive things any regrets anything you would do differently.

George G.: I. thing that.

George G.: Personally I.

George G.: We i've had so many experiences in life great experiences horrible experiences manageable experiences, but i've never been one to say that I regret any of my experiences because i'm who I am today because of the sum of all of my experience.

Nadine Vogel: So I wouldn't change it.

George G.: I would just just learn from it and keep on moving forward.

Nadine Vogel: got it okay Yannick.

Yannick Benjamin: Oh God, I mean again um what would I have done differently, I mean listen there's I think you know I certainly don't regret because I think that one thing that I will say is that.

Yannick Benjamin: There are mistakes that have been done not purposely and you learn from them and you try to improve and improve upon them, and you build upon that you know it's sort of like you know layer by layer by layer and so.

Yannick Benjamin: That that's what I I try to do I think that's what George tries to do that's what we all try to do.

George G.: Absolutely.

Yannick Benjamin: and really and that's the key.

Nadine Vogel: yeah no absolutely, so we are running out of time which is really sad because I could talk to you guys, like all day.

Nadine Vogel: um.

Nadine Vogel: Let me ask one last question, if I may, and if there's anybody dead or alive that you could sit down and have dinner with who would it be.

Yannick Benjamin: You want to go first George.

George G.: Sure, so my my father passed.

George G.: In 1990 and he hadn't never had a chance to see or experience anything that I seen and experienced so I would love to be able to bring him back.

George G.: Just so that I can show him what has become of his son and his other children and my children as well, he never had a chance to meet his grandkids, so I would love to bring them back have a sit down right like they do, and in Yannick's world, you know the mafioso guys.

George G.: Only kidding and.

George G.: You know and introduce him to my life.

George G.: and to the people that i'm surrounded by.

George G.: So, and you Yannick.

Yannick Benjamin: yeah I mean I mean someone you know kind of I i've never met my grandfather on my father's side who actually went blind.

Yannick Benjamin: In his in his 40s he was a farmer lived in the middle of the country, so not much access, but you know i'd love to have a conversation with him and and.

Yannick Benjamin: kind of like George just kind of tell him what i'm up to and and understand what his I mean you know I can't imagine what it was like being a farmer during World War one World War Two in France under the occupation.

Yannick Benjamin: and have going blind, you know, for you know so i'm sure he's got plenty of stories so yeah.

Nadine Vogel: Well, I gotta tell you my goal.

Nadine Vogel: Is next time i'm in Manhattan next time i'm up there is to have dinner with the.

Nadine Vogel: Two of you, at Contento.

Nadine Vogel: That's my goal.

Nadine Vogel: So i'd norma any any closing remarks you like to make.

NORMA STANLEY: same thing, I look forward to checking your restaurant out i'm a foodie at heart, I love to cook and I would love to know what your menus are but we're going to find that in-person.

Nadine Vogel: yeah we're gonna go check that out well George Yannick Thank you so much you so illustrate the power of disability and that disabled lives really do matter, so we know all of our listeners they're gonna be like oh my gosh when I, how do I make a reservation, how do I get there, so we.

Nadine Vogel: can't wait.

Nadine Vogel: until the crowds start coming.

Nadine Vogel: yeah look forward to staying in touch guys Thank you again so much.

NORMA STANLEY: Yes, thank you.

Yannick Benjamin: Thank you for having us.

George G.:  Thank you for having us.  Have a great day.

Nadine Vogel: Okay bye-bye.

NORMA STANLEY: Have a blessed day.

Yannick Benjamin: You to.

George G.: Likewise and stay safe everyone.


Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

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