According to a study, 1 in every 700 babies born suffers from Down Syndrome.
It is a genetic disorder which affects the brain, the intellectual and overall development of an individual. It is said, that Babies born with Downs are believed to have a lower life expectancy.
Russell O’ Grady is a man who set an example and broke through the chains of usual thinking, stepped out to work and became an inspiration for us all.
Russell started working at Northmead McDonald’s in Sydney in 1986. At that time, it was hard to get work with disabilities. But, Russell wished to change the stereotype which clouds the talents and potential of special people with special needs and well, he did succeed!
Now, 50-year-old Russell has retired from his work after spreading smiles and happiness for 32 years.
When he was 18 years old, Russell O’ Grady had no work experience but he was hired by McDonald’s to begin his career and Russell didn’t disappoint at all! The staff was extremely impressed by his work and his dedication to keeping on working. In the beginning, Russel started by packing party boxes for McDonald’s but soon he gets involved in other tasks as well. Russell O’ Grady impressed everyone with his passion for his work.
According to The Telegraph, customers love Russell’s behavior and many people just came to the restaurant to meet and talk to him.
Russell O’ Grady is often described as the ‘best-known person in Northmead’ by the people.Russell became a local celebrity due to his kind and friendly nature. Russell would greet customers on his shift with a smile as he cleaned and swept up.
“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,” said McDonald’s supervisor Courtney Purcell. Russell’s younger brother admitted that he’s proud of his brother and he looks up to him. “He’s kind of blase about it but loves his work very much. He’s pretty cheeky sometimes. He’s my big brother and he keeps me in line,” said Lindsey.
Russell got his job through JobSupport, a platform which provides training and employment to people with moderate intellectual disabilities in areas of Sydney and Melbourne.
“(Our mission is) To place, train and maintain as many people with a significant intellectual disability as possible into quality jobs in the regular workforce that meet both their employment needs and the needs of the employer… Job support works with each employer and the person with an intellectual disability to customize a job that meets a genuine need for the employer and the person with an intellectual disability,” reads their website.
“Without that initiative, lots of people like Russell wouldn’t have the jobs they do today and they wouldn’t have the reward that gives them, which is pride, a boost of their self-esteem, and feeling important and belonging in society,” said Russell’s father, thanking McDonald’s and Job Support.
“It gives them a reason to be.” In 2016, all the employees of McDonald’s threw a party on the occasion of Russell completing 30 years of employment.
Russell has wished to retire now to focus on his health. Happy retirement, superhero!
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