Yard House team member Erick Curry, who has been deaf since he was 3, got the message loud and clear when 13 of his team members wished him a happy birthday through American Sign Language.
“I was shocked and speechless,” said the busser and barback. “I cried and felt loveable.”
Erick has worked at the St. Louis Park, MN, location for more than four years. Associate General Manager Jordan Roerick said Erick and the team communicate mostly by passing notes. “It’s not hard; it’s just a different form of communication,” he said. “Erick is an asset to our restaurant. He has a positive attitude and is very approachable.”
Jordan said he and Erick enjoy discussing sports, especially basketball. “He’s a big LeBron James and New York Knicks fan, and he likes to follow Minnesota teams as well.”
In addition to exchanging handwritten messages, several team members have learned to sign with Erick. An illustrated sign language chart hangs in the break room. “It’s like learning another language — and fun — so we teach each other,” Jordan said. “I’ve learned enough to communicate a few things at a quick pace.”
The 13 team members practiced only a day or so before gathering to sing and sign “Happy Birthday to You,” which Jordan videotaped to share with Erick.
Before joining Yard House in 2014, Erick attended the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf, the Kansas School for the Deaf and St. Louis Park High School. “I feel honored to be a part of the Yard House family,” he said, “and the best parts of my job are meeting new people, making new friends, my team members’ sense of humor and teaching them American Sign Language.
“They go out of their way to invite me to parties and other social events outside of work, and they always make me feel special and appreciated.”