A courthouse is usually a prime place for depressing stories about mankind run amok but fortunately for the folks of Detroit, Mich., they’ve got Craig McGlassion, the blind owner of the snack bar located at the seat of Detroit, Michigan’s court system.
With his loyal black Labrador Booker T at his side, he gives court-goers an alternative to the typical fare, the Detroit Free Press recently reported. The blind man’s shop is two doors down from where drug dealers and felons get arraigned.
Happy is not the operative adjective for the atmosphere that envelopes the building. Stressful is more like the appropriate word. McGlassion tries his best to lend some cheer and calm to a place that is far from cheerful and tremendously chaotic.
Blinded at birth, the shop owner knows the usual suspects by their voice. He also remembers what they purchase and what they prefer from Italian Wedding Soup to PayDay candy bars. He knows what his customers want and he’s always courteous in obliging their requests.
“If you’re in a bad mood or have had a bad day, you go in there and you talk to Craig, and within a minute, you have a whole different outlook,” court spokesman Rod Hansen told the Detroit Free Press. “I don’t think I’ve run into anybody who is quite so upbeat.”
McGlassion, a 57-year-old father of seven children, is also a big joker as well as fan of the Detroit Tigers as well, a human dispenser of the latest baseball statistics, with games playing in the background on a small television.
He got into the snack bar racket in 1993 after enrolling in a program at the Michigan Commission for the Blind that encouraged entrepreneurial instincts of blind and visually impaired Michiganders.
He started off his career at the Environmental Protection Agency and in 2007 moved to his current place, serving over 400 customers daily.
In the past four years at the courthouse, which gets its fair share of criminals, he’s only been defrauded of money three times — each time by a customer claiming to give him a $20 but really offering a $1. Now, he’s got a bill-reader for customers whose voices he doesn’t recognize.
As for the future, McGlassion hopes to take to the stand-up comic stage, making light of being blind in a sighted world.