THUMBS UP to Arnold Schwarzenegger for schooling a Twitter user who made insulting comments about the Special Olympics and its participants. Schwarzenegger, who had recently posted a video congratulating the winners of the Special Olympics World games in Austria, replied swiftly to the troller’s comments: “I guarantee you that these athletes have more courage, compassion, brains and skill—actually more of every positive human quality than you. So take their path—you could learn from them, and try to challenge yourself, to give back, to add something to the world.”
THUMBS DOWN to VIA Rail for appealing the Canadian Transportation Agency’s decision that insisted the corporation revise policies to allow expand capacity for mobility scooters aboard trains. Presently, all VIA Rail trains are equipped to tie down just one scooter. The railway argued that in cases where a person can transfer to a car seat there is no limit to the number of passengers travelling with a mobility device, but tie-downs are limited. Luckily, the appeal was dismissed by the federal court and the decision still stands.
THUMBS UP to Taiwanese bank CEO for stepping in as a bridal father for employee’s LGBTQ wedding. Being gay can be especially difficult in more conservative cultures, but supportive workplaces can make all the difference. A video posted by HSBC Bank Taiwan tells the story of one of its employees, Jennifer Chang, who revealed that her parents don’t acknowledge her relationship with her partner and refused to attend their wedding. So, instead, the bank’s country CEO, John Li, walked her down the aisle on her big day. Taiwan has not legalized same-sex marriages, so the couple’s wedding was ceremonial. But Chang noted she’s hopeful that her story, and the support of people like Li, will encourage other LGBTQ couples facing the same pressures.
THUMBS UP to Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, for hiring up to 80 Syrian refugees across his 36 restaurant locations. Fakih has also supported the families of six victims of the Islamic Cultural Centre bombing in Quebec City. His company raised $100,000 for the families and for the rebuilding of the mosque. Fakih claims that helping people is part of his company’s DNA, and when he became CEO of Paramount Fine Foods in 2007, he vowed to give back to the community that helped him when he was a newcomer.
THUMBS DOWN to the Waterloo (Ontario) Catholic District School Board for not letting an autistic boy have his service animal in the school classroom. The board claimed the added presence placed “undue hardship” on school staff. But Ivy, the companion dog in question, helps 8-year-old Kenner Fee with his anxiety, according to the boy’s father. The school board argued that the classroom is private property when in session, giving it the right to decide whether the dog was welcome or not. The Fee family has taken the case to the province’s human rights tribunal. Commenting on the case, Ontario Autism Coalition’s Vice-President, Laura Kirby-McIntosh, stressed the need for the province to develop an accessibility standard for education that includes all private school boards.
THUMBS UP to brothers Andrew and Josh Cameron, who launched Andosh Accessible Gaming, a company that modifies game controllers for people with limited coordination. The brothers, who both live with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, started this innovative Guelph-based company with the hope of tailoring their services to meet people’s specific gaming needs. Well played, gentlemen!