48-year-old Russell O’Grady, a McDonald’s worker with Down syndrome, has been making his customers happy for the past thirty years.
He first put on the big fast-food chain’s uniform in 1986 when he was only 18 years old. Thirty years later, he is considered as a local hero at Northmead McDonald’s in Sydney’s west.
Russell’s dad, Geoff O’Grady, told Daily Mail that his son had become ‘the best-known person in Northmead’ since he started working at the local McDonald’s.
“People stop him on the street and shake his hand,” he expressed. “He’s very affectionate, dearly loved and appreciated, to such an extent that we just don’t believe it.”
Geoff also said that he was ‘extremely proud’ of Russell. The community also loves him and adores him for who he is.
“Customers love him just as we love him,” he added.
Geoff said Russell’s career has given him a different perspective of life. “Somebody said to him “are you handicapped?” and his answer was “I used to be when I went to school, but now I work at McDonald’s”.”
“Because other people who work there are normal, he assumes he is now too.”
Russell’s career started with work experience. After proving himself that he was a good worker, he moved into a secure job with McDonald’s packing party boxes.
He then tried different duties in the fast-food restaurant, as well as trying his hand in the kitchen area.
Geoff said the staff at their local McDonald’s accepted his son with open arms, making Russell’s work life happier and more enjoyable than they thought.
“These people are absolutely fantastic, if it wasn’t for their attitude he wouldn’t still be working,” he expressed.
Store assistant Katie Chlyder said that Russell has made the restaurant a happier place. “You feel happy that you have him here, he’s just nice to have around. He’s really sweet, he always comes up to me to shake my hand hello and goodbye without fail, just a really sweet gentleman.”
We are all so happy for you, Russell! Congratulations!
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