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Dining in the dark

By Miao Wanyi (People's Daily Overseas New Media)    15:29, September 15, 2020

Restaurant in Beijing helps the people without disabilities establish mutual understandings with the people with disabilities

Photo courtesy of Yu Shuang

Located in the hustling and bustling zone of Xidan commercial street in Beijing, Trojan Fairy Restaurant, like many other fancy restaurants in the circle, is surrounded by skyscrapers but unlike others, it is staffed with a group of people with disabilities accumulating their strength and energy in the dark and hope to shed light and warmth to people who live in a hurry.

“Please put your hands on my shoulders and I’ll be your eyes in the darkness.” Every customer is required to hand in their smartphones or other things that give light and follows the instruction from the restaurant’s waiter or waitress into the restaurant.

One should also eat by instruction, or you may send food to God knows where.

Few would notice their restaurant servers are visually impaired and some even believe the servers are equipped with night-vision goggles.

“See, weighing other’s lives with your own measurement, that’s what most people do,” said Yu Shuang, manager of the restaurant, in an interview with People’s Daily Overseas Social Media.

Over 80 disabled people have worked at the restaurant in 11 years. Currently, three of them organize a band with violin, piano and Bayan.

People who are usually smart and savvy do not care about doing routine work every day. Working with disabled people is also a challenge to many, because it requires more sympathy and communication skills, Yu said.

“But once you work with them, you will see that in every way, they [people with disabilities] are more excellent than others.”

“We are living in a world where people give their ears to earphones and their eyes to screens. People can feel nothing but distractions, which most people are too busy to realize,” said Yu, also a surgeon who lost her sight for half a year at the age of 28 and later determined to open a restaurant for the people with disabilities.

“This must be one of the darkest restaurants in China, where, on the contrary, can shed light on the anxious passersby who are free to open their mind,” said Zhou Haoyu, a 26-year-old visually impaired waiter who has been working as a guide and pianist at the Trojan Fairy Restaurant for more than seven years.

However, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic almost knocked down the restaurant. “It is totally a catastrophe for us, but we are striving to live, wishing to help more disabled people as usual and wake up every abled person’s sympathy towards those in need,” said Yu.

“We provide trainings for every person with disability, who have faith in themselves and the society, we help them help themselves, that’s where we started and what we are aiming at,” said Yu.

Zhou said he found his belongingness in the restaurant with the help of his amiable colleagues and trained himself a professional waiter with persistence and practice.

The saying “When God closes a door, he opens a window” is not what we usually think. The window can only open when people work hard to open it, Yu added.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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