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In the new TV series, “Touch,” a boy who can’t speak uses magical powers to help others. I thought this premise unlikely, until I met a young woman named Lisa.

Needing one of those dime shaped batteries, I stopped at a Walgreen’s in Houston. She was dressed in a blue uniform, on her knees, stocking shelves. I showed her the old disc.

She took it and motioned for me to follow. I struggled to keep up. On the far wall was a collection of tiny Everready’s, distinguishable only by their microscopic serial numbers. Lisa was not deterred. Holding up the used battery, she scanned the inventory at close range.

I asked how she could read the numbers. No reply. Instead, she looked up with a smile and handed me a duplicate.

When I thanked her, from her lips came a unique response. Not a foreign tongue. Not an accent. A melodic intonation, as if a song without words.

Like the boy in “Touch,” Lisa couldn’t speak. When I told the store manager, Jerry Wilson, how impressed I was he just nodded. “She’s one of my best employees.”

With one bad eye and no conventional language, Lisa found her way from Oklahoma to Jerry’s store 10 years ago.

He let me ask her a few questions. Quick to laugh, she wrote down answers in a deliberate fashion.

Sports were her favorite pastime. A trip to Minute Made Park had been a special treat.

“I know sign language,” she wrote. I forgot to ask if her dog, Jazzy, could read the words. When I asked what she liked most about her job, her face grew serious as she penned her answer.

“Here they are nice to me.” It seemed a normal thing. But her eyes told a different story. I was afraid to ask.

In life, actions speak louder than words. Lisa lets her spirit and her enthusiasm do her talking.

The next time you need a “Touch” of magic to make your day, think about Lisa—the most eloquent person I know.

Malcolm D. Gibson
Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved
First Published in
Beaumont Enterprise
and Houston Chronicle
February 14, 2012


  1. Jim Kollaer


    Unfortunately not everyone treat the voiceless like you did..if you recall, after my heart surgery my voice went away for a year. During that time i experienced the various reactions, some really hit me like a ton of bricks..once the salesman started trying to sell my 15 year old son a $40k car after he foound that I had no voice…also when folks found out that I had no voice, many assumed that I was also deaf and began screaming at me abandoning their normal talking voice…you did good…the mgr did better…

    January 9, 2017 5:31 pm
    1. developer


      Thanks, Jim. Over a hundred people responded to this piece when it ran in the Chronicle. Few were as moving as yours.

      January 10, 2017 9:28 am

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