Visitors at the Blind and Deaf Expo in Orlando got the opportunity to try a new VRS Service and describes the experience as “empowering” and a “tremendous boost”. One particular call inspired many – Cheryl, who is deafblind, was able to order pizza through the phone on her own. Something she’s never been able to do before.

At this year’s International Blind and Deaf Expo in Orlando, Florida, visitors were able to try out the Global VRS Service that connects users with an interpreter. The interpreter translates sign and text with anyone the user wants to call.

The most talked about call of the day was Cheryl who didn’t want to call a relative or friend, but instead wanted to try something else she had not been able to do before on the phone – order a pizza. Cheryl is deafblind and was able to use the service by video calling the interpreter. Cheryl signed, and the interpreter answered by text that Cheryl read with a Braille reader.

On the phone, Cheryl wasn’t sure if she should mention the fact that she’s deaf blind to the staff at Pizza Hut, as it might make them nervous to speak with her. After consulting with the switchboard telephonist she decided it was best to be open about her circumstances as they might be able to help her better. This turned out to be a good decision since the girl at the pizza shop was happy to be a part of the experience. Cheryl could then confidentially continue using sign language with the interpreter who was typing the response from Pizza Hut throughout the call.

Cheryl was finally able to order a “mega pizza” with extra cheese, and in an interview after she said that she was overjoyed by the ability to make the call. “It’s empowering and a tremendous boost to make self-esteem as a person who is deafblind to be able to make a call on my own. I no longer have to wait for, or rely upon, someone else to help make the phone call. I’m finally able to do so myself”.

See Cheryl’s call in full HERE