Chicago (CBS)–A group of Aramark employees and volunteers at Soldier Field surprised a Deaf co-worker on Sunday by signing “Happy Birthday” to him in ASL after the Bears-Vikings game.
Jasmon Carpenter volunteers on behalf Deaf Planet Soul (DPS), a Chicago-based nonprofit organization run entirely by and for the Deaf and hard of hearing. The program at Soldier Field, managed by Aramark, invites organizations like DPS to operate certain concession stands at Soldier Field for fundraising purposes.
“Our team is in charge of maintaining the condiment stations and we work through every weather condition imaginable,” Zaineb “Zee” Abdulla, Vice President of DPS, told CBS 2 via Facebook.
Carpenter has been volunteering for DPS at Soldier Field for three years. “I am a huge fan of the Chicago Bears and love to volunteer there because I support DPS. Plus I love everything about Soldier Field,” he told CBS 2 via text message.
Prior to Sunday, he had no idea Aramark employees and volunteers learned to sign “Happy Birthday” for him. “It was the best surprise because my manager learn[ed] ASL for me!!!!! It touch my heart when I found out my amazing manager learning sign language and love it!!!!!!”
Kathi Katey, Aramark’s Director of Non-Profit and Community Partnership, coordinated the birthday surprise for Carpenter. “He is such a kind spirit,” she told CBS 2. “Here is someone who will show up, not get a paycheck and he’ll work an eight to 10 hour day.”
According to Katey, Carpenter bikes on his own to Soldier Field, arriving an hour early for his shift. He often tells the Aramark team how much he loves helping them.
About 20 Aramark employees and DPS volunteers signed “Happy Birthday” to Carpenter on Sunday.
“I feel so inspired,” said Carpenter as he reflected on his co-workers’ act of kindness. “I love my manager and everyone in DPS so much.”
Carpenter has created a birthday fundraising campaign on Facebook for DPS. Donations to Deaf Planet Soul can be made here.
(Video credit: Deaf Planet Soul)