Due to a lack of accessibility and sometimes even discrimination, disabled people have a hard time finding paid jobs. However, many of those who manage to seize the opportunity, prove to anyone who thinks that disabled people can’t hold jobs, wrong. Take for instance probably one of the most lovable Northmead McDonald’s employee Russell O’Grady.
Russell, who is now 50 years old, is retiring after spending 32 years working at McDonald’s and set an example to everybody who has worked there with him.
Russell has Down syndrome, a genetic condition that affects about 1 in every 700 newborns in the US each year. In 1984, when he was just 18 years old, Job support helped him find a job at Northmead McDonald’s. Job support is an Australian government initiative that helps people with intellectual disabilities to find paid employment.
Despite not having any job experience, Russell impressed everyone with his job ethics and became a beloved employee to his manager, colleagues and especially customers. Over the years Russell became a local celebrity, with many people coming to visit him at work and greeting him on the street.
Job support assistant manager Kate O’Grady told Daily Mail Australia “He’s an incredibly social person and can hardly walk down the street without people stopping to chat with him or buy him a beer at the club.” At work, Russell greeted everyone with a kind smile, cheerful attitude and showed exceptional dedication to his work.
His supervisor told The Daily Telegraph “We’ve got regular customers who come in to see Russell on Thursday and Friday, and the staff looks after him, so we’re going to miss him.”