The Ottumwa Courier


October 31, 2013

It feels good to work


Hy-Vee South invited Bonnett and Bostic into their store to try various positions. It turns out even if customers were chatting with the outgoing Bonnett while he was busing tables and wiping them down, he would do fine.

However, both men pointed out, to “do fine” doesn’t mean just showing up. The store did not create a special “disabled-person job.” Bonnett does the work required of him or anyone else in the position. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers, landlords and public venues to make things accessible via “reasonable accommodations” so a visitor, tenant or employee can be there. Paying someone to sit around is probably not going to be considered reasonable.

Bostic said that’s OK because Bonnett doesn’t do much sitting around anyway. During the times he was without a job, he wasn’t as happy as he is now, Bostic said.

Like many of Tenco Industries clients, there’s more to be gained from a job than a paycheck.

In fact, if it was just about money, this disabled man could just collect his full social security disability check.

As it is now, the same worker who comes to help him do a healthy grocery shopping also drives him to the social security office. There, he gives them his pay stub so that if necessary, they can reduce the amount of his social security check.

“Six minutes,” Bonnett told Bostic.

“What’s that, Chuck?”

“Six minutes. I start [my shift] in six minutes,” he said, showing Bostic the time; it was 10:54 a.m. on Wednesday, and those dishes weren’t going to wash themselves.

To see reporter Mark Newman’s Twitter feed, go to @couriermark



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