Have you ever had a waitress with a disability?


Jul 22, 2007
I have spastic diplega, which literally translates to tightening of the leg muscles and I was born with it. I walk a little...off balance. Picture it as a very slight limp, that's the best way I can think to describe it.

I just got a job as a server and I start in late August. I currently also work at another food related job, but I make ice cream and call it out of the window instead. The man interviewing me never noticed my "disability" but then again, I guess he wouldn't. Nothing is wrong with me except that my walking pattern is off. I never even thought to mention it.

But then on my way home, I started to get nervous. Carrying a tray full of drinks and giant platters of food? Ok, so it's not so much the food but I'm just worried that with my footing being off, that I won't be able to carry a tray full of drinks to the table without spilling them.

I filled up a bunch of cups with water and have been carrying them around the house on a tray :s and as long as I walk slowly, I seem to be ok but I'm still very nervous.

When I started my current job that I'm now, it was a lot of stress and I dreaded going to work every single day because I was always doing something wrong. But now, I know my way around and the other employees know me. They know that I can't haul 8 bags of trash out to the dumpster and they've gotten used to the fact that I'm not the most coordinated person in the room but I'm still a good employee.

Should I call my boss and tell him about my situation or should I just see what I can do once I start the job? I think I can do it, I know that I can, I'm just not Speedy Gonzalez. The worst that can happen is that he fires me...right?
May 18, 2008
I have a friend who I think has the same disability. If your boss asks about it, tell him you have it. He can't fire you for having a disability. Worst that happens is you drop a tray. Which I think everyone does, i've seen it happen a ton of times. I've even had coke spilled on me. The worst that could happen is that you make a mistake. Which everyone does! Relax and don't over think things!


Sep 20, 2008
I never notice a waiter/watiress with a disability before when dining out...key word is notice. I'm sure I had to have come across one before since I eat out alot. I would not care that my waitress had a disability as long as I get my food in a timely manner and its what I order. I know alot of places have waiters and then there are runners. Waiters only take the orders, check on customers and refill drinks. Then there are people that actually carry out the food the the customers. What matters is that you feel like you can do the job.


L.a.m.b. Lover
Jun 26, 2007
I would think it would be something that you would want your new boss to know, just so he/she doesn't think that you are moving at a slower pace, than the other servers out of laziness. I used to supervise a warehouse and one of my employees had spina bifida and he was not able to move as quickly as others. I knew about it when we offered him the job so I knew that I needed to mindful of that when evaluating his level of productivity. I wish you the best of luck with your new job!


Jul 22, 2007
Thanks for all the kind words! I'm feeling a lot better. I know I'll make mistakes because heck, I still make mistakes at my current job (I"m just comfortable enough with the people I work with that I don't feel so bad about it). And if it doesn't work out, well then -- it doesn't but I shouldn't stress so much, it'll make it worse!


mandabear's BF =)
Jul 8, 2009
Bay Area, CA
Being a person who has a similar disability in which I can't walk straight. If your boss does ask about it, then it would be okay to let him know. If he were to question you based on your performance it wouldn't hurt to mention it at that time either. :smile:

But it sounds like you are pretty confident and hopefully like your old job your co workers and boss will understand and accept you. Good luck! :biggrin:
Jun 12, 2007
I think you're making yourself too nervous! I'm sure you wouldn't have considered applying if you didn't think you were capable. I've never noticed a server with a disability. It would not matter to me really, as long as the service is great!

OFF TOPIC: By the way ILOVEMYHONDA, my BF is very into cars and on his old car he had that same 'signature Honda' sticker, except it said "I :heart: MYNAME" so maybe you should do it for MandaBear? =)


mandabear's BF =)
Jul 8, 2009
Bay Area, CA
OFF TOPIC: By the way ILOVEMYHONDA, my BF is very into cars and on his old car he had that same 'signature Honda' sticker, except it said "I :heart: MYNAME" so maybe you should do it for MandaBear? =)
Oh really?? What kind of Honda did he have?

Maybe if it said "I :heart: My Mandabear" haha! I dunno if I can rock such a personal sticker like that! lolz Do gerls get a kick out of that??


windy city
Dec 12, 2008
I had a waitress who was partially deaf, it was no big deal, I just had to speak up. I do work in a restaurant however, and no one there has a disability that I know of. However, you SHOULD let your boss know that you have this so you don't get any heat for walking slower than others. This is important IMO because where I work it's very busy and fast paced and they expect us to use our time wisely and keep moving. And I wouldn't worry about carrying trays full of drinks, no one walks quick with those anyway and we have at least 2 spills a week. Also, if you let your boss know about how it takes you a little longer to walk he could possibly put your station closer to the kitchen so you don't have to go as far - that's what they do for one of my coworkers who hurt her ankle.


Sucks at budgeting
Jan 5, 2007
Jacksonville, Fl
I've spilled a couple of drinks off trays and I don't have a disability as an excuse. :smile:

I think you'll be fine. Of course you'll be a bit nervous when you first start, but over time you'll get the hang of it.

Good luck!


Mar 22, 2007
I think you're scaring yourself. I worked as a waitress for a time in college with a woman who had a very substantial limp and she did just fine. She learned to compensate.

That said, I don't have a disability and I had to do some balance training to carry big trays. It's not easy at first, but it will come pretty quickly.


Jun 4, 2007
if you don't feel comfortable carrying stuff on a tray you could always see if there's someone around you that isn't doing anythign at the moment and see if they could help you carry somethings (like if you had 4 glasses to carry and you could only carry two by yourself - the other person could carry the other two). when i'm at restaurants i see that a lot of the time - other wait staff will help carry things to a table if there's too much for the other person to carry themselves.


Chewy Redlands CA Police K-9
Jun 27, 2007
Well, we own a full service restaurant here in CA and I can tell you firsthand that we are NOT ALLOWED to ask applicants if they have any "disabilities". We can give applicants a list of requirements that the job entails and ask them if "there is anything that would precluded them from fullfilling the specific duties the job requires". We have to be very careful how we word things here in CA. Heck, we can't even ask applicants their age here (there is no DOB on any applications in CA). Since we have a full bar, we can only ask if the applicant is over 18 (which allows them to serve alcohol in the main diner). If the applicant is going to work in the bar, we can ask them if they are over 21.

So, if you are in CA, don't expect your employer to ask you if you have any disabilities.

As far as my personal opinion on your situation, I would say that it depends on the restaurant you will be working at. Is it a fast-paced place or along the lines of fine dining. Do they have expeditors (runners) or are you expected to serve the food/drinks?? I know that we expect our servers to be able to take the orders and deliver the food/drinks. As far as "asking for help" to deliver your food and/or drinks, I can tell you that it would be okay occasionally, but after a while your co-workers most likely will not appreciate that you cannot handle your own workload. This is just my experience with restaurants and servers (family has owned and operated restaurant since 1951, before I was even born). When a restaurant gets "slammed", servers are expected to be able to handle their sections.

Have you considered asking if you can start out as a hostess or cashier? All of our servers have to start at those positions first in order to get familiarized with the menu, sections and volume of business we do. It really works out well and helps ease the worker into serving. As a hostess/host, we will let them take a table now and then so that we can evaluate them and they can decide if they feel that they can handle being a server.