Shalom Life | July 11, 2015

Israeli Stewardess Surprises Deaf Passengers By Serving them in Sign Language

El Al's Larisa Speyer uses sign language to offer 'VIP' service for deaf passengers traveling to sporting event; 'It seemed like I made their day'

By: Itay Blumenthal

Published: July 9th, 2015 in Business » Israel

Israeli Stewardess Surprises Deaf Passengers By Serving them in Sign Language

Photo: Larisa speaking to the passengers


Flight attendant Larisa Speyer started learning sign language in her down time in recent months, after visiting the Nalagaat Center in Jaffa with her El Al coworkers.

"What I saw that day was the difficult circumstances of being deaf at a café and blind at a restaurant, and since then I have decided to learn sign language," she said. "I decided to learn sign language because we occasionally have deaf people onboard our flights and I need to be able to serve them."

Larisa is currently studying sign language with her teacher Sami Siroha from "Kol-Hasimanim," who told her that a deaf athletic team was set to fly to a sports competition in Taiwan with El Al in the beginning of July.

"When I heard that I immediately called my manager at El Al, and asked to be placed on that flight, and he gave it to me. For me, it’s the first time I can put to use what I learned."

The deaf passengers where surprised by what waited for them onboard. "I improved my abilities and they enjoyed it. It was an experience for all. The 10 hour flight was amazing, and it seemed like I made their day.

The team was travelling to the world championships for deaf basketball, and was made up of 18 athletes. During the flight they where invited to visit the cockpit with the pilots, who where impressed by Larissa's actions.

At the end of the flight, the athletes wrote her a letter that left her in tears. "For the first time ever, we felt like equals, and received equal and accessible service in sign language, which is the official language of the deaf community," they wrote to her. "Larisa gave us VIP service."

Reprinted with permission from Ynet News

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