Today’s story is all about unfairness as well as kindness and god forbid a miracle in this world, a beaming light that shows that not all hope is lost when it comes to people and Autism! I was surprised when I came across this story yesterday and couldn’t believe that the ignorance of some people is so obvious, it’s a slap in the face to all of us who just want to live a normal life and support ourselves and our families.
Various news outlets report that a waiter working in a Manchester Restaurant with Autism came across customers that refused to be served by him after the owner Mike Jennings came across this issue, asked what was wrong before explaining that the waiter had Autism. So obviously, they must have had an issue before they found out he had Autism, maybe he didn’t talk much or looked a little uneasy, it can happen sometimes but once they found out he had Autism, they didn’t want anything to do with him!
“They asked me why I would give him a job in a restaurant like ours. I couldn’t believe it.”- Mike Jennings
The man in question is called Andy and is 45 and was diagnosed with Autism seven years ago! I can’t imagine what he is going through right now after this because I read that it knocked his confidence but best of luck to him, especially since he is a carer for his mother with Alzheimer’s. He has enough to go through, this must be so much added pressure for him, then something like this happens, the guy doesn’t need it…he does not need it at all, to come across rude customers that refuse to be served by him. Now when this happened, it knocked Andy’s confidence and I can relate to this because I’ve had moments in the past when others have made me feel secluded and I have always blamed myself for it because I felt like I needed to but I didn’t, you just get bad people in the world, it’s a small number but it’s enough…it’s enough people!
“I always feel that it’s automatically my fault and I go into defence mode. I always think I have to apologise”- Andy
His service was good so what was the problem? You only found out about his Autism after the owner told you…so what’s with the judgement? He didn’t drop your food, he didn’t swear at you or threaten you so what did he do that made you not want to be served by him before the owner came over? If it was the no eye contact or not much talking than thank you for making Andy feel even more insecure! I bet it took a lot of courage for him to even apply for that job! I know it couldn’t have been easy for him but he did it and he’s great at it! I found this whole incident to be disgusting! What happened to equal rights people?! I mean how does anyone get put off by Autism? It doesn’t even appear on anyone physically, you can’t see it! Was hearing that he had something turn you off and make you feel uncomfortable? Why would someone having Autism ruin your dining experience? We won’t know why but you made your feelings clear and I’m sorry but I don’t agree with them, not one bit because it shouldn’t have changed a thing because Andy looks like he is a damn hard worker who is doing well and an issue regarding his Autism shouldn’t have come up at all!
‘The customers seemed to have a problem with him, even though his service was good,’ said chef and proprietor Mike.
If you are a person who discriminates against anyone with Autism then you should be ashamed! Life can be hard enough to just live a normal life and be social, make friends and accomplish things but to have other people judge us and bring us down because they don’t like it, how is that fair to us? What did we do to make you look at us like we are freaks? Because we don’t talk as much? Because we can’t always look you in the eye? Again, it’s a small number who do this but like I keep saying, it’s enough to ruin someone’s day…I mean I can’t look anyone in the eye for long at all, nor can I talk to people for too long before getting to nervous, life can be tricky sometimes but I’ve always pulled through and kept going, I’ve had to or I wouldn’t have got through College or University, I wouldn’t have bothered because I would have never believed in myself to go.
This next quote was my favourite bit from the article because I believe many of us have thought this every single day when we go about and live our everyday lives! It comes from the waiter himself and it hits home when it comes to our feelings and what we don’t want to nor should we have to do.
“The customers said they didn’t know I was autistic but I shouldn’t have to walk around with a t-shirt on explaining it. I should be treated fairly and exactly the same as everyone else in the restaurant.”
Your damn right we shouldn’t have to wear a shirt that explains that we have Autism, why the hell should we? We deserve the same amount of respect and support that everyone has, it isn’t our fault that Autism isn’t visible to the naked eye. No one should expect us to wear should ridiculous labels to tell you what we have because it is humiliating and unnecessary, that and we don’t always want to announce it to the entire world because of goons who will throw it back in our faces and make life twice as hard, it’s only a minority but it only takes one person to ruin your day!
I applaud the owners of the Grenache restaurant for standing up for Andy and making him feel welcome and equal to any other employee that they have. It is nice to see people support and be decent human beings! If you don’t know what Autism is in 2016 than I suggest you either google it or read a book! Chances are you will come across someone with it because it affects 1 in 68 people so if you happen to come across someone who might not talk much to you or even look you in the eyes, don’t you dare make them feel bad for it, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve beaten myself up because I couldn’t talk to someone at University, College or in life in general! We don’t do it to be rude, we do it because we are scared!
‘Don’t book a table if you’re going to disrespect our staff’
Simple, if your someone who is disrespectful and just not generally a decent human being than take your dining experience elsewhere and don’t dirty our doorstep with your presence, we don’t want our day to be ruined by your nasty comments and disrespectful attitudes that the 1970’s want back! it’s 2016 people, how are people like this still about? I am grateful for the people in my life because they know I have Autism and they don’t make me feel bad for it, they support me and everything I do, so why is it so hard for others to just be supportive and you can do that by not being judgmental because you hear the word ‘Autism’ don’t worry, you can’t catch it if you know nothing about it…bet some people think they can.
Anyway, it was an incident that never should have happened but many people have shown so much support for Andy and the restaurant for standing up to him and I do as well, I support Andy and anyone who is discriminated against for what they might have that affects the daily life that they go through! It’s never easy but with people like Mike Jennings about, it’s a little bit easier.
Have a good day everyone!
You can read all about it in the link bellow from the Manchester Evening News, if you haven’t read or heard about this yet and the featured image is via the Daily Mail who own the copyright to it, I do not claim to.