How to Serve Customers with Disabilities

Why This E-book Was Written

As a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy, Michael Haines has encountered lots of restaurants who don’t really cater to people with disabilities. Here he talks about some of the problems he has had with restaurants:

  • I couldn’t maneuver in a washroom because it was used to store highchairs.
  • I couldn’t go to a restaurant on the second floor because there was no elevator.
  • I’ve had to ask someone in a washroom to help me out of a cubicle because the door was too heavy.
  • Because of my speech, a waitress told me I had had too much to drink. I had not had a thing to drink.
  • I’ve had trouble fitting the front of my electric wheelchair under a table.

Situations like these led Michael to collaborate with a virtual assistant and a nurse to write an  e-book entitled How to Serve Customers with Disabilities. It will help restaurant personnel know how to help people with a wide variety of disabilities:

  • Physical.
  • Visual.
  • Hearing.
  • Cognitive.
  • And many other of the disabilities that 13.7% of the population experience.

Video promo for e-book

In the video you will see some of the content of How to Serve Customers with Disabilities.


Order this training manual now.

If you want the e-book PDF file emailed to a Canadian email address:

$35 CAD


If you want the e-book emailed outside of Canada:

$27 USD


See link in horizontal menu about how to train your staff how to serve customers with disabilities.

Below is the introduction to the training manual.


The purpose of this training manual:

  • To help business managers and employees learn how to serve people who are living with a disability.
  • To help the service industry increase its customer base by providing information on making its establishments more accessible.
  • To serve as a training manual for staff & business owners.
    • I have done the research to give you the information necessary to serve disabled people.
    • Where the user of this e-book could use more explanation, I have included links to excellent websites.
    • Each chapter concludes with a quiz to help with training.

Allow me to introduce myself

My name is Michael Haines and I have cerebral palsy.  Because of my using a wheelchair for many decades, I have been in many uncomfortable, embarrassing, and unsafe situations for myself and employees and ultimately business owners.

I have been inspiring businesses and students with my insightful talks to restaurants for more than twenty years. I want to help managers, employees and the general public better understand how to interact with and cater to the needs of people who have unique challenges or disabilities.  

In my quest to lead a relatively normal life, I’ve learned a great deal about the 13.7% of the Canadian adult population who have physical and mental challenges that limit their daily activities.

If you manage a business, you may be missing out on sales by not catering to that 13.7% of the population. In this e-book, I would like to pass on to you the essence of what I’ve learned about minimizing the discomfort they feel.

I want employers and their staff to be equipped to better understand the needs of seniors and other people with unique disabilities.  I believe that a company’s bottom line will increase if their establishment is fully accessible and as welcoming as possible.  

My challenge of cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a developmental disability caused by a disruption of brain development in the fetus or at birth. The severity of symptoms varies greatly from stiff muscles, abnormal reflexes, poor coordination and posture as well as speech difficulty.

I often get the question, “Wow, what’s it like to have cerebral palsy?”  Whether it’s a small child or an adult, I like to tell the story of my friend, the foreman at a big factory. He gave orders and people carried out his orders. 

Now I want you to think about your body as a factory with your brain relaying thoughts down the back of your neck. Those commands are then passed along to the other parts of your body. These commands are something like the foreman’s orders. When these orders go to the muscles, the muscles are on a slowdown strike. They sort of do the job. But their work is extremely substandard.

Then I have spastic muscles and poor flexibility in my arms and legs. My body does not move the way I want it to. I can take a few steps but I have used a wheelchair for years. The wheelchair is a mobility tool that gives me freedom. I have poor dexterity in my hands and fingers. So, it is hard to drink a coffee without spilling on my clean shirt.

Disabilities and intelligence

People with physical disabilities are not necessarily mentally challenged (like many people tend to think).

I have built my life around fighting derogatory words and labels. I’m always trying to prove to people that I’m not stupid.

Because cerebral palsy affects so many parts of my body, people sometimes put me in a box.  They tend to think that because my muscles don’t work well, my mind must not work well either. That definitely is not true. 

One of my biggest challenges is my speech.

Watch this one-minute video so that you can hear me speak.  The longer you listen to me, the easier it is to understand me. (As you work through this e-book, you will see how I began to view my speech challenge as an opportunity.)

One person who has proven to the world that his intellect remained intact despite living with devastating disabilities was Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018). He was one of the most brilliant people that has ever lived.  He had a rare form of ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – where nerve cells that control muscles throughout the body gradually lose strength and die. After losing his speech, he was able to activate a speech-generating device by using a single cheek muscle.

Steven Hawking did not have cerebral palsy like me. But my point is this: even though his physical disabilities were enormous, his mind was extraordinary. His theories changed the world as we know it. He was considered to be among the 100 greatest people in Briton’s history.

My  own schooling challenges

I recall one of my many life challenges.  It was when I was 16 years of age.  My parents were told by the experts that I wouldn’t progress any further than grade 5 in a formal educational setting.  I should drop out.  This actually gave me a sense of relief.  I wasn’t accomplishing anything; I didn’t feel like I was getting anything done. I was just passing time.  It was not pleasant. I was in a special class of 7 or 8 students, in a normal school setting.

My father, a former Army Captain, opened a service station so I could work for him.  I ran the night shift.  It was quite horrible, especially at 4 am while trying to stay awake.  I would run out to the cars.  I could handle the cash register easily and one time I even got robbed.  Going to the cop shop was quite an experience!

At the age of 21, being much more motivated, I went to an Adult Education Center.  Within 10 months I had achieved my grade 12.  It was a miracle!  I set my own pace.  I accomplished things that were incredible.  I was determined.  I worked like a Trojan while living at home with my parents and older brother in London, Ontario.  Dad dropped me off at school every morning and I took the bus home every night.

My Dad was proud of me.  I was proud of me; everybody was proud of me.  On the last day of school, the Principal called me in front of the whole school of about 400 students.  He presented me with two book ends.  It was incredible!  And I still have the book ends and a book of poems with my classmates’ comments inside the hard covers.  I tell you this not to brag about myself, but to reinforce the idea that we all have untapped resources within us.

Interesting side notes about people with physical & intellectual challenges

“Including workers with disabilities in real jobs with equal pay tends to have a direct and positive impact on a business’s profitability. Workers with disabilities are more productive, work more safely, stay longer, require less supervision, are more innovative and have less absenteeism.” (The Globe and Mail, 2016). (If you manage a business, click on that Globe & Mail story to learn much more. It is a real eye opener!)

A Tim Hortons franchisee has found that hiring disabled Canadians has boosted his bottom line.  It’s an approach that’s been coined ‘return on disability.’ ” From the description of this YouTube video: Business owner makes money by hiring disabled workers.

How to train your staff


Structure of this e-book

The first two chapters of this e-book are structured to help business personnel better understand how to serve customers with a wide range of physical and mental challenges.  The next chapter talks about turning our challenges into opportunities.

Statistics Canada categorizes disabilities as

  • Pain
  • Flexibility
  • Mobility
  • Mental/psychological
  • Dexterity
  • Hearing
  • Seeing
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Developmental

Table of Contents

Below is the table of contents for the e-book, How to Serve Customers with Disabilities.

1) How to serve people living with disabilities at your place of business
2) Tips on making your place of business accessible
3) Why I use the word “challenge” rather than “disability”


Increasing your bottom line, catering to people with disabilities

This was just the introduction to the e-book. You will learn how to increase your bottom line by serving those challenged individuals. Buy How to Serve Customers with Disabilities now. Only $35 CAD!  (or $27 USD)

If you want the e-book PDF file emailed to a Canadian email address:

   $35 CAD


If you want the e-book emailed outside of Canada:

  $27 USD