When a customer insulted a worker with autism, this restaurant owner had a spot-on response.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, restaurant owner P.J. Gialopsos got a phone call from an irate customer.

As anyone who's worked in the service industry will tell you, an occasional dissatisfied customer is simply part of the job. But this particular customer of Little Italy Restaurante in Anchorage, Alaska, took it to a whole other level.


Photo via iStock.

Someone who'd ordered delivery service was upset over a mistake by one of Gialopsos' employees, who has autism.

A Little Italy employee made a small mistake with the customer's order (it happens with us humans from time to time). Instead of handling the situation with any ounce of level-headedness, however, the customer yelled at the delivery driver, who has autism, calling him inappropriate names, the Alaska Dispatch News reported. The customer then called the restaurant to complain about the driver, continued to use profanity, and even accused the employee of being on drugs.

“So (the driver) is a little awkward socially -- gee whiz -- that doesn't give you a right to call him a foul name and make his day miserable."
— P.J. Gialopsos

When customers have had issues with the employee before, Gialopsos said, usually things got smoothed out once the restaurant explained the employee has autism. This time, however, that didn't happen.

Frustrated, Gialopsos took to social media to explain that sort of attitude will not be tolerated at Little Italy's.

In a Facebook post published on Nov. 10, 2015, Gialopsos spelled out exactly what had happened and what she did about it.

"We have fired this customer," she wrote, noting that her employee is a "seriously accomplished university student," and has "one helluva work ethic."

"That address, that name, and phone number will be tagged with a DO NOT DELIVER DO NOT ACCEPT ORDER message."

Here's the entire post (story continues below):

"This has been pondered for days now: should I write this post and HOW should I write this post?

Over the weekend we received a complaint about one of our delievery drivers. The customer wasn't simply complaining, he was ranting and foul. He informed us our driver was an idiot and strung out on drugs and was FURIOUS!

It was calmly explained to him, no, this driver is not on drugs....nor does he drink....he is autistic and has a slight speech impediment. The customer called the phone person a liar, had a few more choice words for her and hung up.

When the driver returned, he came into my office a little shaken because the customer was angry (he had mixed up the pouch of food but quickly retrieved the correct order from his car. Mistakes are made all the time in the course of a business life, and when we make them we do our very best to correct the problem immediately. )...that didn't satisfy this man....he berated him and then called him a name I won't even elude to here.

It isn't the first time I've had a comment about this employee, but normally, as soon as I explain, they are always VERY understanding that the mannerisms had a reason.

This driver has worked for us for two years. He is a seriously accomplished University student, has an amazingly inquisitive personality, a wicked sense of humor and one helluva work ethic!

You would think, in the year 2015 the majority of the population would have learned or at least heard about autism. I understand that there is a large portion of our population that is content to remain uninformed and uneducated, but that doesn't give them to right to take that ignorance and turn it into a foul mouthed rant on two of my employees!

Therefore, we have fired this customer. That address, that name and phone number will be tagged with a DO NOT DELIVER DO NOT ACCEPT ORDER message.

...... And won't that customer be surprised later in life to learn that his "idiot strung out" delivery driver long ago turned out to be the physicist, microbiologist or chemical engineer who could quite possibly make a discovery that will save his sorry *** someday.

Just sayin'.
Thank you for allowing my own little rant here."

















Since it was published, the post has garnered more than 19,000 Likes and over 5,000 shares — quite the response for a small restaurant in Alaska.

“The fact that he has autism doesn't cross anyone's mind at the restaurant," Gialopsos told The Mighty. “We just work, he just works, that's it. Maybe it's the mom in me, but I had to write that response."

The response to Little Italy's post has been "overwhelming" for Gialopsos in the best possible way.

What does her employee think of all this positive attention? He's been thrilled, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

"I can honestly say kindness is not in short supply," Gialopsos wrote in a follow-up post on Facebook Nov. 13.

"Understanding still thrives....and good people do good things every single day...all over the world."

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

via Ken Lund / Flickr

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The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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