Restaurants can have all sorts of customers. There can be sweet ones, kind ones and of course, there will always be rude ones. While there are people who react to these people in equally rude ways, there are also folks who know the perfect way to shut them down: by being kind.
One restaurant owner from Greenville, South Carolina met an ill-mannered customer who said the most unkind words about the establishment having servers who are disabled. It was something that she did not take lightly.
Ryan Mosley, a guy with Down syndrome, is employed as a food server at a Pizza Inn owned by Amanda Cartagine, an entrepreneur. He was on his shift one Sunday when someone walked up to him and asked him to refill the salad bowl.
Now, the task given to Ryan wasn’t exactly his job. Someone else was in charge of it and he was given another assignment in the restaurant. The customer did not like this and complained to the management.
Amanda stepped in and talked to the guy in private to explain the situation.
“My manager explained to him the situation privately, ‘That’s not his job. We’ve trained him to do this and there are special circumstances,’ and the customer was still not happy.” she said.
She patiently handled the conversation, trying her best, and hoping that the customer will understand. But, he reacted the opposite way and even suggested a rather rude idea.
The customer suggested that she should post a sign that warns customers about the restaurant having employees with special needs.
Amanda heard what the man said and she was quite appalled by the man’s suggestion. The idea did not sit well with her and she knew she had to say something to the guy.
Her employees, with or without special needs, are like her children. What the customer said was offensive for her and she was intent on correcting him.
But Amanda did not want to return his rude comment in an equally ill-mannered way. She started to think of a way to shut his idea without having to be as bad as him.
“These are like my kids, and it made me angry. I wanted to do something that was not rude, but got my point across,” she said.
The restaurant owner shares that 60% of her staff are people with special needs, and it has always been something she was proud of.
“If you have the patience to let them take their time and learn at their pace, when the light bulb comes on, they are unstoppable.” she said.
Amanda loved her staff and her kind and generous heart has given them opportunities to be seen for more than their disabilities.
“Some of us have different color hair, some of us have tattoos, some of us have different walks or personalities, but as a unit, we are family,” Amanda says.
Since the customer suggested to put up a sign, Amanda thought of doing just that but using a kinder, more compassionate approach.
She posted a sign on the restaurant’s door that read:
“We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and hire all of God’s children.”
Now, that’s how you should turn something bad into something more inspiring! So what about the customer who wanted to put up a different sign? Well, Amanda doesn’t really care much about what he has to say.
“If he is not OK with that, then I’m OK with him not coming back. That’s a dollar that I don’t need.”
The community found her new sign in a really positive way, giving them an increased awareness of how people should treat each other, regardless of special needs. Angie Mosley, Ryan’s mom, found the sign really kind and encouraging.
“We parents with special needs (children) are always faced with breaking down barriers, stigmas, teaching other people that our children are more like them, than different,” said Mosley.
She is proud of her son and thankful for establishments like Amanda’s Pizza Inn that give opportunities to people with special needs.
What an inspiring story! Know more about this amazing tale of kindness by watching the video below.
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