On March 11, actor Micah Fowler will be the recipient of the Trailblazer Award at the United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles' (UCPLA) fourth annual Art of Care gala, at the Petersen …
A PlayStation customer service representative spent 10 hours last month customizing a game controller specifically for a hardcore gamer who has cerebral palsy.
Peter Byrne, 21, of South Amboy, New Jersey took to Facebook to share his experiences after he emailed Sony PlayStation about the game console’s fourth edition controller, which was causing him issues when trying to play. As a gamer since he was 8 years old, Byrne never had problems with the previous PlayStation editions. He wasn’t expecting the response he got and the lengths that one customer service rep. went to in order to help him. According to Byrne,
“I sent an email to PlayStation’s customer service two weeks ago, mentioning that I have cerebral palsy and that the controller is very sensitive to my left hand. My hand constantly hits the touch pad, which either pauses my game or interrupts whatever I’m doing.”
Playstation customer service rep. Alex Nawabi replied to Byrne the following day and told him he would work on the issue. Nawabi also indicated that he would personally take care of Byrne’s problem by himself, not on behalf of Playstation. They began exchanging emails back and forth. Byrne explained in more detail the problems he was having and in turn, Nawabi ordered special parts in an attempt to make a customized controller.
In one of their final emails on March 24, Nawabi told Byrne that he wasn’t able to customize a controller for him, but he would send him a PlayStation goodie box instead. A few days later, Byrne was shocked when he received a customized PlayStation controller in the mail, along with a personal note from the caring customer service rep. who helped him. Byrne wrote,
“The only difference is that the touch pad in the center was disabled and replaced with a button in the back on the right-hand side that can pause the game. There’s no more frustration for me. I’ve had no problems.”
Nawabi wrote that Byrne’s email to him pulled at his heartstrings, especially when he read that a true gamer was having issues with a controller design.
“The email you sent definitely struck a chord within. It killed me to hear how something you used to thoroughly enjoy was being ruined because of our controller design.”
Nawabi also apologized to Byrne for tricking him into thinking that he hadn’t been able to design a controller for him. He said that the surprise was “too good to ruin.”
Byrne admitted that was choked up by the selfless and kind act. He hopes that Nawabi’s actions will prompt gaming companies to take people with disabilities into consideration when designing consoles.
“Someone listened, and cared enough to take my matter personally. I hope that other companies look at their fan base and realize that disabled people are gamers, too, and that we need to be accommodated.”