Customers at our St Leonards-on-Sea store love our deaf colleague Ben Pike so much for his big smile and friendly manner that they use basic sign language to communicate with him.
Forty-five-year old Ben is well known at the store for his readiness to go the extra mile to help anyone.
He's been deaf since birth, so relies on lip reading to help customers, and also carries a pen and paper so customers can write down any questions for him.
Ben, who's worked for Asda for 15 years, said: "There are a few colleagues who can sign in basic sign language for example please, thank you, have a nice day etc and I do get lots of regular customers who always sign to say thank you. Nowadays children at school are taught some sign language and hopefully in the future more people will able to sign too.
"The best thing about working for Asda is the colleagues and customers. They are all so friendly and I have good relationship with everyone.
"I do get regular customers who are deaf and always come up to me to say hello. Sometime they ask me few questions about things and I advise them or show them where there are.
"And I always carry pen and paper with me in case if I can’t lip read the customer so they can write it down for me. My colleagues do step in to help as well if I get into difficulties too."
Ben, who joined the St Leonards-on-Sea store ten years ago from our Eastbourne branch, has used sign language all his life and this is how he communicates with his deaf friends and his deaf brother who is three years older than him.
Ben met his husband Charlie through his mum who used to work for Asda. They've been together since 2012 and got married at The Royal Pavilion in Brighton three years ago.
Asda St Leonards-on-Sea's community champion Wendy Border says Ben's an inspiration.
She said: "Ben does not let his disability effect his fantastic work. We get a lot of hard of hearing or deaf customers coming in to store because of Ben so that they can communicate with him.
"He's a very funny, caring and hard working colleague. He does not let his disability get in the way of giving 110% fantastic service to all of our customers.
"Ben always carries around a piece of paper and a pen in his pocket so he can communicate with people. He relies heavily on lip reading, so when the pandemic hit and everyone having to wear masks you would think he would have struggled but, like a pro, he got his pen and paper out and gave 100% great service."
Adam Caney, the store's customer service manager, said: "Ben's a really well liked and well respected colleague. He is brilliant – his customer service is excellent. He doesn't let being deaf affect him at all.
"He is a credit to the company and I'm proud to be his manager."
We're celebrating some of the amazing colleagues like Ben who make a real difference to our customers, communities and each other every day at our Proud To Be Asda Awards. Nominations are open to the public and Asda colleagues here: https://bit.ly/3iSEsDZ