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So I’m staying in Vegas, again. I practically live here I spend so much time here!

Anyway, there’s a McDonalds downstairs and religiously I go down and grab coffee and a sandwich. It’s been a few months since my last visit, and boy has it changed. They have employed a few new members of staff with additional needs.

One young man in particular, who I’d probably say is about 18 or 19. I think he has a form of Autism and/or tourettes (he has the ticks, struggles with fine motor skills and speech and regularly puts an order through twice by mistake).

But, that being said, he has the most charming manner, and always smiles, saying ‘Good Morning, how are you?’ and he remembers EXACTLY how I like my coffee (black with about 1” in the top for cold water).

He works the early shift which is 4am until around 12pm, and if I’m honest, he works as hard as he possibly can, and as he’s only been there at most 2 months, he’s getting to grips with the extensive menu and the till quite well. I’ve worked with similar tills and when you’re faced with 30 buttons all of which have 100 options, it is overwhelming.

Anyway, I digress. The morning in question I went in, and there was a huge queue, not to worry, I’m British, I love a good queue! Then people behind me started to get irate at the wait, knowing full well the guy on the till was struggling and had additional requirements. Tutting and saying loud enough for him to hear ‘he shouldn’t be on the till if he’s stupid’ and ‘the retard’s serving’.

At this point, and I’d been waiting as long as them, something inside me snapped. I laid into them about how what they were saying was cruel, offensive and ugly. Yes, he’s a little slow with service, and yes, he’s still learning the ropes, but hands down and fair play to him, he’s got himself a job, and in turn the team at that particular McDonalds have gained my full respect, for he’s learning several things AND getting paid.

He’s learning people skills, money work, hygiene in the workplace, how to correct his own mistakes, routine, the importance of being on time or early to work. And to top it all off, he will be (or I think he bloody well should be) proud that he’s earned that money.

Giving jobs to people with additional needs isn’t charity, nor is it slave labour, you’re providing them with as much as they provide you, and customers should learn to have a little patience, because one day, it could be their child or grandchild in that very situation, and they could be on the receiving end of such abhorrent and cruel ignorance, simply because they weren’t blessed with the looks of Reese Witherspoon and the brain of Einstein.

So look at it like this, if you have to wait a little longer for your meal, maybe they are simply trying to learn the ropes and when something goes awry, they panic because they fear getting into trouble. Just let that be your thought for the day.

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