McDonald's Employee With Down's Syndrome Is Now Retired After 32 Years With Restaurant
There are many negative stereotypes surrounding those with Down's Syndrome. In fact, wasn't until fairly recently that people with Down's began to be accepted at traditional places of employment.
Russel O'Grady of Australia was one of the first. He was part of a program intended to provide employment for intellectually disabled people and was hired at a west Sydney McDonald's in 1986. He is now retiring after 32 years of working there due to his health.
A beloved member of the McDonald's family, O'Grady has also achieved wider notoriety in his community. His supervisor said he is the "best-known person in Northmead." Customers come to see him regularly on the days he works.
Russel's dad told Daily Mail Australia: "Somebody said to him, 'Are you handicapped?' and his answer was 'I used to be when I went to school, but now I work at McDonald's.'"
His son is known to be affectionate and "pretty cheeky sometimes," according to his little brother Lindsay. He will definitely be sorely missed by customers and colleagues alike!
While this story is heartwarming, the fact remains that less than one in five people with learning disabilities in the UK have jobs. But programs like the one that gave O'Grady a chance for success continue to improve this number.
Do you know someone with a learning disability? If so, you probably know that despite the desire to be a contributing member of society, being handicapped erects many social barriers. Tell your friend about this story and you may inspire them to success!