A person with disability (PWD) working as a waiter at a Korean barbecue restaurant in the Philippines has gone viral on local media.
Ericka Mae Maquidato Patalinghug took to Facebook to share her encounter with the waiter, Runiell Prince B. Waminal Jr., while she dined at the Romantic Baboy Unlimited Korean Grill with her family at the Limketkai Center in Cagayan de Oro on Nov. 11.
“Yesterday, we had our dinner at Romantic Baboy, LKK branch. I was so happy to meet Kuya Prince, who served our food last night,” Patalinghug wrote in her post.
Prince wears an ID that indicates he is a PWD who can only communicate with customers through writing, preferably in English.
“Even with his condition, he quickly responded to our needs and happily assisted us,” Patalinghug added. “Kudos to Romantic Baboy, who opened their doors to persons with disabilities just like Kuya Prince. To Kuya Prince, thank you for your outstanding service. More power and continue to inspire more people.”
Patalinghug’s post has since garnered nearly 160,000 interactions and more than 58,000 shares, with many users lauding Prince and praising the restaurant’s management for hiring PWDs. His story went viral in the nation and has become a source of inspiration for many viewers.
“I’m proud of these companies that accept PWDs,” one user commented. “They are giving them the proper space, unlike when my brother wanted to go to school but he was not accepted because we are poor. The school believed that he would just cause a ruckus. He is deaf and mute as well. I know he has big dreams, but his disability and the people who could not empathize became an obstacle.”
“Don’t let your disabilities or anything stop you from reaching your goals and dreams,” Patalinghug also wrote. “If they can do it, you can too. As long as you have the determination to do it.”
“I hope more companies will open their doors to people like Kuya Prince,” she added.
There are approximately 1.44 million PWDs in the Philippines. Due to underrepresentation, the government has since tried to accommodate PWDs by passing policies, programs and national legislations, such as expanding employment opportunities, benefits and privileges.