LONG BEACH, Calif. (FOX 11)
At 4th and Olive Restaurant in Long Beach, you’ll find disabled veterans working at the bar, the kitchen and serving customers.
Owner Daniel Tapia designed it that way. He too is a disabled Navy vet. He says, "I’m referred to what's known as a walking quad, a high functioning quadriplegic. So, I can walk and move but I have a limited strength and feeling in my hands and feet."
When Daniel was let go at his previous job because of his disability, he decided to open his own restaurant where no one would be discriminated against.
"I decided that the only way that I could really avoid disability discrimination was to start my own company and that also gave me the opportunity to hire other people that are in my position," says Daniel.
One of the employees is 26-year-old John Putman, a disabled Air Force vet. Putman lost complete use of his right arm in a horrible accident. He thought he’d never work again. But when Daniel offered him a job as a bartender at 4th and Olive, he jumped at the opportunity.
"Everyone that comes in wants to know what I'm doing bartending with one arm," says Putman.
The restaurant employs other vets with disabilities that aren’t as obvious, like post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury.
Chef and co-owner Alex McGroarty says those employees have worked out great.
"They work really hard. If they’ve had a little trouble in the past, they are going to be really loyal and work hard for you," McGroarty says.
Tapia hopes other employers follow his lead. He says, "By in large, it’s been a great process hiring these vets and we can’t wait to hire more."