Portrait of the month: Cidalia, waitress-guide in the dark, conveys a powerful message every day

Maëlle Pintoavatar

Published on 03/06/2024, by Maëlle Pinto

portrait cidalia serveuse dans le noir

This month on the blog, discover the portrait of Cidalia, a fulfilled mom from Differdange and a waitress-guide at the restaurant "Dans le Noir ?", since November 2023. This establishment offers a unique experience where customers dine in complete darkness. Cidalia’s journey, marked by her visual impairment, bears witness to extraordinary resilience and unwavering determination.

I'm just like everyone else. It just takes me a little longer to do everyday things.

A job that restores confidence

We met Cidalia at the Novotel Luxembourg Kirchberg, where the restaurant "Dans le Noir ?" is located. Before starting her evening shift, she took some time to share her professional experience and story with us.

Cidalia began her career as a nurse, a vocation she had to abandon due to her worsening vision problems. "I knew I had a vision problem, but I never thought I would have to change careers because of it," she confides. It was a tough blow, but she quickly realised that she couldn’t let it bring her down.

"When I realised that I could no longer do the job I loved, I knew I had to find something else, something motivating."

The transition to a job where she could use her skills differently became an obvious choice. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable job and a period as a full-time mom, the opportunity to work at "Dans le Noir ?" came up.

A transformative opportunity

Cidalia was recruited by the restaurant through an acquaintance who worked there. Her first reaction to the offer was confusion. A job as a waitress in a restaurant seemed unlikely in her situation. She recalls that her partner and children were her greatest source of motivation to accept this challenge. "You will succeed, go for it," they encouraged her. Her son even called her at the end of her very first shift to find out how it went.

And her first day was particularly challenging. Being visually impaired in a completely dark room is difficult because one loses all light perception cues. However, thanks to her determination, she quickly adjusted to the complete darkness. This job allows her to fully concentrate on her tasks, forget her worries, and step out of her comfort zone.

Providing a unique experience

The restaurant "Dans le Noir ?" doesn’t just serve food. It offers an immersive experience where customers eat in complete darkness, discovering the importance of their other senses. "People put themselves in the shoes of the visually impaired or blind and realise how much sight usually dominates their perception," explains Cidalia. She particularly appreciates the human and convivial aspect of her job.

"What I love most is the contact with customers, the communication, and knowing that they depend on us for a complete experience."

In fact, customers don’t always know that servers are visually impaired or blind and are often surprised when they find out. This initial ignorance allows for more "natural and sincere" interaction. Cidalia particularly enjoys moments when she can chat with customers and share her experience. She notices that most of them leave with a new perspective on visual impairment. Indeed, they discover the importance of their other senses (touch, smell, and hearing).

"Usually, customers eat with their eyes. They choose their dish based on the pictures in a menu."

In particular, she shares several anecdotes about customers who ate foods they don’t usually consume, especially the younger ones.

A message of hope and motivation

Through this portrait, Cidalia wants to share a powerful message:

"We say 'difference' and not 'disability.' People with health problems should never give up. There is always a solution to every problem."

She also encourages employers not to be afraid to give people with health issues a chance. "These people will do anything to succeed because they know how difficult it is to find a job. There is a real willingness and determination to succeed."

Cidalia is not just a waitress, she is a symbol of courage and resilience. Through her work at "Dans le Noir ?", she offers an experience that transforms customers’ perspectives on visual impairment and demonstrates that determination can overcome many obstacles. Her journey inspires us to look beyond appearances and appreciate the strength of the human spirit.

Find all our profiles of the month on the blog.

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