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I happen to work at one of the main offices for my employer. We have a complex that covers 4 square city blocks and houses a few thousand employees. I work in one of the oldest buildings there.

The company is diverse, employs a wide range of people and offers a wide range of cuisine's in the cafeteria (but don't get the Pakistani contingent going on the Caribbean riff on classic Asian cuisine).

This also involves a number of employees with limitations. Mine is the lack of a brain. We have some in wheel chairs, some blind, and some deaf. And we have one woman with severe physical limitations. I see her most mornings. Most people walk by her. A few wait for her to pass before going into the cafeteria. One or two treat her as if she is invisible.

For about a year, I've been saying hello and shooting the breeze with her. She's funny, she's very smart, but you have to be patient and let her finish her thoughts as she has some problems speaking due to some facial paralysis).

This morning, we got on the elevator together, along with a group of other people. I joked about finally remembering what floor she worked on. She suddenly straightened up, turned to me, and asked "What is your name?" I realized that for more than a year, we had never exchanged names. "I'm Fluff," I said, holding out my hand.

"I'm Linda*." and she smiled.

"I'll remember that, Linda." and she got off on her floor. The entire elevator said "Have a great day, Linda" as the doors closed. They were all smiling at her, some of them regulars who had not spoken with her before.

It's a small thing, really, to have someone tell you they want to be called by their given name. But it made my day. Having others recognize that she is, in fact, a bright person who can speak for herself, made it even better.

*usual whine on changed names.
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