SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (CBS Local) — A Missouri boy on the autism spectrum recently got to fulfill his dream of working as a fast-food restaurant manager for a day.
First grader Eric Johnson was very excited to take over operations at a Wendy’s restaurant in Springfield on Monday, his mother, Denise Johnson, told CBS affiliate KOLR.
“I said to him, what do you want to be when you grow up,” she said. “I thought he was going to say like a professional gamer, he just said ‘I want to be a Wendy’s manager.'”
About 50,000 people on the autism spectrum graduate high school every year and many of them will be looking for their first jobs. Will they get hired?
“When we talk about [workplace equality], we often talk about race, and gender identity. We don’t always talk about people with special abilities and I think it’s time that we start talking about that,” she said.
A little boy on the autism spectrum got to fulfill his dream of working as a manager at Wendy's for a day today. https://t.co/FWQGg3DyMR
— KOLR10 KOZL (@kolr10kozl) November 12, 2019
A customer at the fast-food restaurant, Dedee Culley, also has a son with special abilities.
“I have to be able to know that my son’s going to be able to get a job. Eric’s going to be able to get a job. I need them to be able to be educated and be able to be active and [be] kids that can give back to our community,” Culley said.
Wendy’s general manager Glenn Schomder says the budget is something that can prevent a business from hiring people with special abilities.
“We’re limited by how much we’re allowed to spend for our labor based on how much money the store makes, so a store that’s much more busy has more hours that you could work with and stuff like that,” he said.
Eric did get to serve a few customers through the drive-thru window even though snow kept a lot of people at home.