Riverside: Rubio’s Coastal Grill Team Member Sally Chavolla Learns Sign Language to Communicate with Guests
Riverside, CA – Sally Chavolla, a beloved Shift Leader at the Rubio’s Coastal Grill restaurant in Canyon Springs, leads by example when it comes to helping others and making a positive impact on her community. After an encounter with one deaf guest left her feeling disconnected, Chavolla made it her personal mission to learn American Sign Language (ASL) to not only better serve this guest in the future, but also help ensure he and others in the deaf community get a more personal experience when they come to Rubio’s.
“I will never forget my encounter with this guest because it was the first time I had ever met someone who is deaf,” said Chavolla. “When he approached the counter, he signed for a pen and paper then handed it back to me. Then he sat at his table, ate and left with no other interaction. I thought to myself, if I see him again I’m going to at least be able to say hello.”
Chavolla took it upon herself to learn some of the basic ASL signs such as “hello,” “how are you,” and “what’s your name?” It wasn’t long before she was using her newfound ASL knowledge with another guest. Chavolla continued, “his face just lit up with surprise and happiness. He was so happy someone went out of their way to speak to him.”
“I really cannot recall another time when someone went to this length, having this kind of heart and compassion for our guests,” said Jeffrey Martin, Inland Empire District Manager at Rubio’s. “Sally embodies the customer service and hospitality we like to extend to each guest that walks through our doors.”
Chavolla realizes that people in the deaf community don’t get a personal experience at most places they go, but she has changed that in her corner of Riverside. “I decided to make it personal not with just one person, but with a community of people in this world who almost never get a personal experience everywhere they go.”
ASL is now Chavolla’s third language and she volunteers within the deaf community. She says that learning ASL has changed her life forever, and she encourages others to take the time to learn a few basic signs.