Goodwill’s Fashion Consultant

Ben Davis photo

Englewood, FL – “The brunette ladies like to wear blue dresses, and the blonde ladies prefer red.” This astute observation comes from Rialto Goodwill’s Fashion Consultant-in-training, Ben Davis.

Ben, who is a sales floor associate and the dressing room attendant for the store, enjoys talking to the customers and helping them with their clothing choices. He is also eight percent deaf in both ears, is legally blind without his glasses, and has an organic brain injury that occurred when he was born prematurely.

But persistence is his middle name. Ben searched for a job for more than three years before learning about Vocational Rehabilitation and how they help people with disabilities find or keep a job. VR Counselor Canada West saw the determination in Ben and knew that Morgan Howell, a job coach with Loveland, would be the perfect person to help Ben find that elusive job.

Morgan mentored Ben on how to act in the workplace, one of the reasons Ben had not been able to hold a job for very long, and taught him the ins and outs of the city’s transportation system.

Morgan brought Ben to Goodwill so he could try out a few of the different jobs to see which one would best suit him. Ben sorted clothing, put out wares, and greeted customers, but he really found his niche as a dressing room attendant.

“I take the clothes that people hand me and put them back on the rack. I let them into the dressing room, and I make sure they only take in six items at a time,” Ben says. “And when they ask me how I look, I tell them.” “Ben’s a natural salesman,” says Morgan.

Ben has been working at Goodwill since March 2012, and when asked about his favorite part of his job, Ben replies honestly, “I like lunch time and pay day.” But he quickly adds, “I also like talking to the ladies and making them smile.”

Canada and Morgan are proud to see Ben thriving at his job. “He’s a very hard worker, and he’s doing a great job,” says Canada. “He’s come a long way and maintained his job for a long time. He works four days a week and recently got a raise.”

Ben not only works at Goodwill, he also volunteers at his church’s daycare one day a week. He enjoys spending time with the children, playing games or matchbox cars, helping with snack time, and exploring the church grounds. Ben also participated in the Special Olympics last year, winning a silver medal in golf.

This well-rounded young man is well-liked by his co-workers, and Morgan, who now works at Goodwill as the manager of employment, explains why, “He’s enthusiastic. He looks forward to coming to work and is always early. And he’s always happy and pleasant with the customers.”

Ben’s first goal after he got his job was to get his driver’s license, and then buy a car. He accomplished both goals within eight months, and he’s very proud of his ’95 Ford Thunderbird. Ben looks forward to a long and happy career at Goodwill, helping the ladies resolve their fashion dilemmas.

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. Our employer-focused website, FLJobConnections.com, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 80 offices across Florida, and last year helped 6,523 Floridians with significant disabilities find or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit Rehabworks.org.