I had made plans to have lunch with my Aunty Ji (mother-in-law) on a Wednesday afternoon. She mentioned that there is a KFC nearby, which is run by deaf people. My jaw hit the floor. HOW INCREDIBLE IS THAT!! So, we decided to lunch at KFC (not our usual preference; fast food addiction begins and ends with me in this family) but I loved the concept and wanted to check it out. I felt like Karachi has gone all woke while I had been away.
To my utter surprise, and expert Google-ing skills, I found out that this particular KFC is anything but new. It is about two DECADES old, and so is KFC’s partnership with Deaf Reach Schools. Currently, there are seven such KFCs across Pakistan, where about 125 aurally impaired professionals are a fully integrated part of the work force, learning highly transferable skills such as food preparation, customer service, teamwork, and career building.
When Aunty Ji and I went to lunch, the lady who took our order and server both were unable to hear yet my experience was amazing. Order placing was easy, and she wrote down the total payable with her thumb-nail on a paper (it was a scratch card type of thing). Our server, full of smiles, insisted that I get seated and that he would bring our food to the table. It was hands down one of my best KFC experiences to date.
When I got back home, I told Dad and Mother India about it, and they did not know about this particular initiative either! Dad was equally impressed and decided that we’ll all go again as soon as possible. I was pressed for time during my visit but he did manage somehow – my last dinner in Karachi was at the same KFC. Not what I had planned, but still perfect. We were all together, at a place that was doing such a good job providing opportunities to our specially-abled community, and fried chicken is always a good idea.
I don’t know how we never heard of this in all my time in Karachi but I am so glad to have found out about it now. And the purpose of this post is also to make as many people aware of it as possible. KFC is doing their bit and we ought to do ours by supporting the initiative (and dining at such venues) as often as possible. You can have a salad, an ice cream, rice or whatever else if fried chicken is not your thing.
I went to the one in Gulshan-e-Iqbal. There are more across Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad as well.
It also made me realise that it isn’t Karachi that has become woke recently – it’s me. I have learnt to pay attention to these initiative and inclusive practices in recent times. I have arrived where Karachi had already reached in 2006, and this is one of the million reasons why there will never be a city like Karachi. It truly is a special beast.