A man who has a brain injury has struggled to find a job that will allow him to be accompanied by his trusty service dog. What he was told in one job interview left him shocked and in tears.
Owen Lima suffers from a serious brain injury and gets by with some help from his reliable service dog, Blue. His search for a job has been tough, as many employers do not allow dogs in their establishments.
One day, Lima went in for an interview at the Lowe’s home improvement store and brought Blue into the interview with him. He was nervous that, like every other interviewer so far, he and Blue would be turned down. But the pair got a pleasant surprise.
Lima and Blue were both hired by Lowe’s, with one simple condition: Blue would have to wear a vest to work just like all the other employees.
“It’s so hard to find a job where people can accept me for the way I am and the fact that I have a service dog with me,” Lima told CBS News, through tears.
The store’s manager, Paul Gallo, told Lima upon hiring him, “We don’t care about your past, what you are — we care about what you can do.”
Gallo found the perfect job for Lima and Blue at the home improvement store. Lima will be a customer service associate, and he and Blue will spend their time on the job greeting customers and managing carts near the entrance of the store in North Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Lima and Blue’s story was posted, along with a photo of Blue in his work vest, on the Lowe’s Canada Facebook page. The story quickly went viral, being shared more than 11,000 times in under 48 hours, according to CBS News.
“We’re overwhelmed,” Gallo said. “We never intended for this to happen. We listened to an individual and we took him on board like we would anyone else.”
Due to Lima’s brain injury, he sometimes has a hard time understanding people, which can cause him to become anxious and frustrated. Fortunately, Blue is always by his side to prevent him from having an anxiety attack.
“[Blue] being in the store has made my job easier to do,” Lima said.
Viewers shared their thoughts on the touching story on the Lowe’s Canada Facebook page.
“Way to go Canada Lowes!” one user commented. “Thank you for hiring these two new employees! I know others who are physically limited who want to work here in the USA. But no one would give them a chance.”
“Awesome!” Another viewer commented. “The Lowe’s Manger is what this country needs more of! Congrats on the new job Mr. Lima and Blue!”