Dec. 2, 2021
STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART---WITH LOVE.
This very-touching story--featured on social media---was signed "anonymous." Enjoy.
“In 1979, I was managing a Wendy's in Port Richey, Florida. Unlike today, staffing was never a real problem, but I was searching for someone to work three hours a day-- only at lunch. I went thru all my applications and most were all looking for full time or at least 20 hours per week. I found one however, buried at the bottom of a four-inch stack that was only looking for lunch part-time. His name was Nicky. Hadn't met him but thought I would give him a call and see if he could stop by for an interview. When I called, he wasn't in but his mom said she would make sure he would be there.
At the designated time, Nicky walked in. It was immediately one those moments when my tongue almost blocked my throat. Nicky had Downs Syndrome. His physical appearance was a giveaway and his speech only reinforced the obvious. I was young and sheltered. I'd never interacted on a professional level with a developmentally-disabled person. I had no clue what to do, so I interviewed him.
He was a wonderful young man with a great outlook....and task-focused. For reasons only God knew at that time, I hired him for 3 hours a day and 3 days a week---to run a grill. I let the staff know what to expect and predictably--every crew made sure I got the message--- "no one wants to work with a retard." To this day-- I find that word offensive. We had a crew meeting, cleared the air, and prepared for his arrival. Nicky showed up for work--- right on time.
He was so excited to be working. He stood at the time clock literally-shaking with anticipation. He clocked in and started his training. He couldn't multi task, but he became a dynamo-machine on the grill. Now for the fascinating part.....
Back then, there were no computer screens to work from. Every order was called by the cashier. It required a great deal of concentration on the part of all production staff to get the order right. While Nicky was training during his first shift, the sandwich maker next to him asked the grill man/trainer what was on the next sandwich. Nicky replied, "single, no pickle, no onion." A few minutes later it happened again. It was then we discovered ----Nicky had a hidden and valuable skill.
Nicky memorized everything he heard! He had Photographic Hearing! WHAT A SKILL SET! It took 3 days and every sandwich maker requested to work with Nicky. He immediately was accepted by the entire crew. After his shift he would join the rest of his crew family-- drinking Coke like it was water! It was then they discovered Nicky had another Rainman-esque trait. Nicky was a walking/talking perpetual calendar! With a perpetual calendar as a reference, they would sit for hours asking him what day of the week was December 22, 1847. He never missed. This uncanny trait mesmerized the crew.
His mom would come in at 2 to pick him up. More times than not, the crew would be back there with Nicky--hamming it up. As I went to get him from the back, his mom said something I will never forget. "Let him stay there as long as he wants. He has never been accepted anywhere like he has been here." I excused myself and dried my eyes, humbled and broken-hearted at the lesson I'd learned.
Nicky had a profound impact on that store. His presence changed a lot of people. Today I believe with all my heart that Nicky's hiring was no accident. God's Timing and God's Will is Perfect."
----This Christmas, I hope we all remember Who and What we are celebrating. And please---everyone: NEVER JUDGE A PERSON---- by the way he or she looks. Thanks to ALL of You----For caring-enough to read this story.