It's a story that begins with a tragic accident, and ends with a young man back where he belonged.
Sean Murphy is a parts-counter representative at Applewood Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC, in Mississauga, Ont., although you rarely see him behind the counter.
His workstation is a little deeper in the parts department where he predominately fields orders and inquiries by phone, from Applewood’s wholesale customers.
“I really enjoy it,” says Murphy.
He finds Applewood to be a great place to work, with a close-knit team, and he loves being challenged to source non-mainstream and/or difficult-to-locate items.
Before taking on this role, Murphy was an apprentice technician at the dealership. Just before he was to begin his first school term in September 2013, he broke his neck in a swimming accident.
“I suffered a spinal cord injury . . . which left me with quadriplegia. I’m paralyzed from my shoulders down and have limited movement in my arms.”
“I always knew I wanted to come back (to Applewood), and right from Day One they said I will have a job here as long as they are here. Lee (Wittick) and all of our managers are so supportive.”
After extensive therapy in hospital and more time at home, Murphy returned to the dealership in late 2014.
“It took me a while to get the courage to come back and the drive to get back.”
He started slowly, but now works four days a week.
Before the accident, he was deep in the import-car tuning scene with his modified Volkswagen Jetta. He now spends some of his off-work hours volunteering with the Lion’s Foundation of Canada guide dog program. As a recipient of a dog, Murphy knows how essential they are.
“I thought it was such an awesome organization that I wanted to give back, so I spoke to the trainers and they have me in to work with the dogs that are in training.”