Joseph “Mike” Fitzpatrick sits in an office chair – just one of the thousands of donations that are also being held in Goodwill’s e-commerce warehouse to be sorted and auctioned off online. He rests his folding cane in his lap and looks off elsewhere as he’s spoken to – but don’t be deceived. He listens with attentive patience, and when he’s decided it’s his turn to talk, his words are polite and soft-spoken.
When asked what brought him to work for Goodwill, Mike says, “I’ve been visually impaired for 11 years now, and I’ve not worked ever since,” later revealing that his condition resulted from a tumor in his head. “I’ve always heard [Goodwill] is good to work for. Plus, I think I’ve been led here. My wife and her friend had worked here before, too.”
Mike enjoys working at Goodwill for several reasons. “It keeps me busy…[and] it gets me more out in the public.” He reveals that organizations he’d previously involved himself with “didn’t think [he] was part of the public” and dropped him. Meanwhile, Mike has found a supportive community within e-commerce that he contributes to. “There’s been so many people that I’ve helped. I’ve helped them and I know they’ve helped me too.”
When asked what advice he would give to anyone going through a situation similar to his previous one, he thought for a brief moment, then simply stated, “Hm, just keep your head up.”