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Autism

Restaurant Manager Who Gave Special Service To Autistic Child Deserves A Raise

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Restaurant Manager Who Gave Special Service To Autistic Child Deserves A Raise shutterstock 145916447 280x187 jpgI worked in the restaurant industry for more than 10 years, and I have to admit that I wasn’t always very nice to customers—at least in my head. Face-to-face, I was a pro at “service with a smile,” as almost any server can attest to. After a few years in the biz, it becomes like a defense mechanism. After customers pick you apart for forgetting to put a straw in their water for the hundredth time, you have to find a way to block it out and forge ahead. I could only hope that if I encountered a special needs child as this manager did, I would have acted with as much grace and class.

According to the Huffington Post, a restaurant manager was emailed guest comments at the end of a long, stressful shift. The dishwasher walked out. Servers were overwhelmed, but they stayed upbeat. Everyone worked as a team to help bartenders wash glasses and keep drinks coming out on time.

The customers hardly ever see what goes on behind the scenes. Customers still complained, even though the staff was busting their ass. Thank God in the midst of all the restaurant chaos, one manager was able to provide a customer with an autistic child with a special experience:

“The manager Tony was very attentive to my autistic child’s needs. As a mother I am grateful.”

Todd is one of our best servers. He came up to me during craziness and asked me a weird request: “Listen. I got this guest that their kid wants a quesadilla but not brown at all but they want it cooked. I have no idea how we could possibly do that?” I had nine million things on my mind. During the “crazy storm” of restaurantness I stopped. I looked at Todd and told him I would take care of it.

I went in the kitchen where we were getting killed. On a flat top grill I put down two pieces of wax paper. I lightly buttered the tortillas and added cheese. I flipped the quesadilla numerous times and then put it in the microwave for five seconds. I cut it and brought it out to the family. I put it in front of the child and he smiled. The mother thanked me and I walked away. I started doing other things. Later the family called me back to the table. The mother asked my name and thanked me again. I told her it was no big deal. She told me it was a big deal.

“We never go out to eat. When we do we have to sit in the bar because my son is loud. He is Autistic and can get loud. He asks for specific food cooked a specific way and we get a ton of eye rolls or comments that the restaurant is too busy to fill our request. The fact that you made the quesadilla was a big deal. Thank you and we will be back.”

I can honestly tell you that I have been in this situation many, many times before. I have seen both servers and managers roll their eyes at some picky customer who doesn’t understand how busy we are, never thinking twice about the fact that this person or family could have a unique story and would appreciate some extra care. I probably would have acted like a jerk as the server in this situation, or at least in my head.

I report on horrible news every day of the week, but this story made me tear up. I have two toddlers and know how important it can be for us to go out and have a decent meal in public after being cooped up in the house for weeks at a time. This manager deserves all the credit for not only doing his job well but for connecting with his customers at a human level.

(Image: Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock)

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