When customers disrespected an employee with autism, restaurant owners clapped back in the best way.
Andy Foster, a 45-year-old who has autism, works at Grenache Restaurant in Manchester, England, and recently encountered customers who "seemed to have a problem with him" despite his good service, owner Mike Jennings told the Manchester Evening News. When Jennings explained Foster's situation, he was horrified to discover that the patrons refused to be served by the employee.
"'What is wrong with him?' and 'why would you give him a job?' they reportedly asked," according to a Facebook post recounting the situation.
To speak out in support of Foster, Jennings and his partner, Karen Deveney, took to Facebook to let people know what the establishment really thought of the customers' hurtful actions that night.
"We employ staff based on experience, knowledge and passion for the job ... We do not discriminate!" read a post on the restaurant's Facebook page. "If you DO -- then please do not book a table at Grenache. You do not deserve our time, effort, or RESPECT!"
The post ended up going viral with many praising the restaurant for taking a stance against the customers' behavior.
Foster mentioned to the Manchester Evening News that the diners may not have initially known that he has autism. However, their behavior was inexcusable.
“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,” he said.
And though he's no stranger to such treatment, the incident still shook the employee.
“The incident really knocked his confidence and we had to take him to one side and let him know that we certainly didn’t feel that way," Jennings said.
While the restaurant owners were concerned people may think they were being impolite in their Facebook status, they ultimately believed that it was the right thing to do.
"[I] cringed as I was posting this as I didn't want people to think we were being rude -- But then I thought, we need to stand up for what we believe in!" the restaurant wrote on Facebook. "Our staff are our foundation and this is our way of standing up for them! #equalopportunities"