A customer complained to the owner of a Pizza Inn in South Carolina about an employee with autism in the fall of 2018 and asked her to hang a sign to caution the patrons. Respecting good business ethics, the owner heeded the suggestion of the customer but did so in a way to emphasize a different point—and she did it in a style worth appreciating. The sign read:
“We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and hire all of God’s children.”
Amanda Cartagine owns the Pizza Inn on Woodruff Road in Greenville. The restaurant seems like any other fast food outlet, but there’s one notable thing that makes the place one of a kind—out of the crew of 16 employees, 10 have special needs.
“These are like my kids, and it made me angry,” Cartagine told WYFF. “I wanted to do something that was not rude, but got my point across.”
“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,” Cartagine said.
She added that her special-needs staff have great work ethics and always have a smile on their faces.
Then, one day a customer asked an employee who has autism to assist in refilling the lettuce bowl, and he was not happy with the service. So when the customer suggested to put out a sign of caution, Cartagine did exactly that!
“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,” Cartagine recalled.
“If he is not OK with that, then I’m OK with him not coming back,” Cartagine said. “That’s a dollar that I don’t need.”
The workers’ parents appreciated the touching sign, which was pinned right on the front door.
“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,” Angie Mosley, whose son has Down syndrome, told WYFF.
Cartagine hopes her sign will allow people to be more accepting of others.
“I want to be able to communicate in a way that is not overly rude but gets my point across. It was the first thing that came to my mind,” she told Fox Carolina.
Everyone is born differently, with some of us being efficient and quick in learning new things, while others take their share of time to hone their skills. But regardless of our abilities, we should always remember to never look down on others.