Deaf Residents Asking People Not To Hang Up When They Call

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

All it takes is a minute of your time. That's what deaf residents and their interpreters in Big Spring want people and businesses around the community to do.

More and more deaf people are becoming independent and when interpreters call you it's on behalf of them who most likely want to know more about any goods or services. On Tuesday, the Big Spring Economic Development Office and Howard College teamed up to get the word out on how not to hang up and not to be scammed.

A simple hello and a phone call is common for everyone to make but what if you needed to call your doctor or order a pizza but you suffered from hearing loss.

"It really hurts us it's a service we need the most," Cathy Weldon said. Weldon has suffered with hearing complications all her life and both of her parents are deaf. She had to learn sign language not only to communicate with her family but to be able to understand a simple conversation. She knows how frustrating it is when people hang up on you because they think you're trying to scam them.

"It's a true service, we need people who can interpret for those who don't have a video phone.  They can help us with the outside world, we use it constantly everyday," Weldon said.

The phone line works like a regular phone, you dial the number and an interpreter shows up on the screen. The deaf person will sign what he or she has to say and the interpreter will let the person on the other line know what the deaf person said. Sometimes the person on the other line hangs up before they hear the whole story.

"It's a freedom for us and the scammers have taken advantage and they have hurt us. They have made fun of us all our life and told us we weren't intelligent," Weldon said.

That's why the Big Spring Economic Development Office hosted a luncheon as a way for Big Spring businesses and individuals to become more comfortable serving hearing impaired customers.

"We have a big community, a lot of our neighbors are deaf. This is a better way to get to know them and earn a new costumer," Debbye Valverde with the Big Spring Economic Development Office, said..

With the holidays around the corner, all they are trying to do is bring awareness. Although, there are some who might use this line for scamming, there are some red flags that you might look at.

"Fraudulent calls usually order anything in stock, multiple credit card numbers some may not go through. And they want to have it shipped to another location or other credit card than the primary user. Sometimes even places overseas," Eileen Alter with the Public Utilities Commission, said.

"I feel like a human being when I do things for myself. Before I had to knock on a door, interrupt someone's day and life, it's hard something hard to do," Weldon said.

Organizers hope the luncheon will help spread the fact that not everyone is trying to pull a fast one and that the hearing impaired are just people trying to live their lives like everyone else.