Grocer Bags Success

Randy Kugler photo

Pembroke Pines, FL When Randy Kugler started working at Winn Dixie nine years ago, he was already a go-getter. Described by his father as a "real leader" and a "role model," Randy has always been admired by his friends and co-workers because he has never let his disabilities get in his way.

Randy was born with Ptosis, or droopy-eye syndrome, prelingual deafness, poor vision and developmental disabilities. In addition, Randy was in a severe auto accident two years ago that left him with a limp. At his job, Randy is responsible for welcoming customers and bagging groceries. He also gathers shopping carts from outside the store and organizes shelves.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) provided Randy with glasses, a hearing aid and a shoe lift that corrected his stride and made it easier to carry grocery bags. It also enabled him to walk over distances and maneuver shopping carts with ease. "Having the hearing aid and glasses lets me hear and see the customers better," says Randy, "and the shoe lift lets me walk straight, not side to side." Assistant Front End Manager Lucy Barresi, Randy's mentor, says that Randy has always been "on the ball" at work, and the hearing aid has made it much easier to communicate with others on the job.

"He has always been courteous and helpful. Before, he couldn't always hear customers when they would call his name. Now, that's not a problem." Randy says his new-found abilities would not have been possible without the help of his VR Counselor Shelia Zigler, who still visits Randy when she shops at Winn Dixie.

"Shelia was great," explains Randy's father Barry Kugler. "You could tell she went out of her way. It was much more than just a client kind of a deal. You could see that she really cares about her customers and I knew she could help Randy go far."

Shelia says, "Working with Randy was a joy--one of my most rewarding experiences. He demonstrated a strong dedication to his job; he just needed the right tools to make his work easier. It is stories like his that truly exemplify the mission and goals of Vocational Rehabilitation."

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 post available jobs. VR has 111 offices across Florida, and last year helped 3,874 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.