Following is an email I received from Michael, a vision impaired and very determined auto consultant, and my response.
I was introduced to your name today at a job interview with a gentleman that said that I might want to contact you who’s name is Mr. Bryan Koser of Al Packer’s White Marsh Ford of Baltimore, Maryland. He said that you have been a very inspirational person to him. He said that you are blind and I am also going blind with an eye disorder that I was born with called R. P. where I am slowly losing my retina in my eyes and I have been told by the eye doctor at Johns Hopkins Wilmer that I have two to three years before I go blind. Anyway, since I am very interested in the auto business and going blind he thought that I should get in contact with you to learn more about how and what you have done in the car business and how you got around everyone telling you that you can’t do it due to your eye problem. I have been told this a lot in my life and it just makes me want to try harder to be in the car business to show them and to also educate the auto businessmen that a blind or visually impaired person can do the same jobs as a sighted person.
My grandfather, when he was alive until 1985, owned Wilson Pontiac and Honda in Silver Spring, Maryland and was my inspiration. He always told me not to let anyone stop me from reaching my dreams in the auto business and auto industry. He was the distributor for the South Florida region for British Leland cars until 1985. And was also a NADA chairman for a year when he was alive, which I don’t what year it was. I have worked in many different areas of the auto dealership business including the parts department as a parts warehouse man; parts counterman at a BMW dealership in Towson, Maryland; switchboard operator; part time car salesman; and when my eye sight got worse I was a customer service assistant at a large dealership in Owings Mills, Maryland called Koons Volvo Of Owings Mills. In 2003 I worked as a sales leads assistant for a dealership in Westminster, Maryland. My last job was at a dealership in White Marsh, Maryland as a sales leads assistant.
I have also been running a part time auto consulting business called Wilson Auto Consulting which I have been running since 1999 where I bring potential sales customers into dealerships and once they purchase a vehicle I get paid a referral fee from the dealership. Along with that business I am now also running a part time model car business by selling and buying model cars on eBay. I use special talking software for my computer needs and it is called Sarteck system access to go. It has opened a whole new world for me since it talks as I type letters and reads audibly to me what is up on any website on the internet as well as allowing me to read and send emails to anyone.
I just thought that I would send you an email telling you about me and where I heard about you and I would love to hear back from you about your experiences as a blind person and I would also love to learn more about your company too. If it doesn’t cost much or is free I will very soon be signing up for your email newsletter as well.
Again Mr. Dale Pollak, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my email and for getting back to me too.
Thanks so much for your note, and I admire your determination. You can do anything you want in spite of your vision loss, including a career in the automobile business. We are both fortunate today to the extent that there is marvelous technology that allows us to perform functionally as a fully sighted person.
I’m not sure if you’re aware, but every Apple device comes equipped with “voice over” for no additional charge. Voice over is a comprehensive speech to text and text to speech application that makes every application fully accessible. Although I’m not familiar with the package you use, I’ve used many similar ones in the past and find Apple’s voice over to be superior to any others.
Regarding opportunities, they are out there but the burden of proof is much greater for you than it would be a fully-sighted person. This means that you might need to work for less or maybe free for a while for the purpose of honing your skills and demonstrating your value. I think that a person like you can perform wonderfully in a business development center or similar e-commerce environment. You’ll simply need to perfect your skills with respect to those business requirements. This will take courage and determination, but there’s no reason why you can’t do it.