"Patience and understanding" - These are just two words that describe how the staff at a Chili's Grill and Bar treated a autistic girl in her demand for her "perfect" burger. Such act of kindness has gone viral with 800K+ likes on Facebook.
Anna Kaye MacLean, from experience, always expected her outings with her autistic sister to be difficult. But the staff at Chili's Grill and Bar proved Anna otherwise.
Anna's sister refused to eat her favourite cut cheeseburger because to her the burger was "broken".
So I asked her, “Why don’t you want it?”. She replied, “It’s broken. I need another one thats fixed.” Then it dawned on me why she wasn’t eating it. It’s because it was cut in half. Being a child with autism, she has to have certain things in a particular order at all times. One slight change in her routine can change the course of the day instantly. When Lauren came back to check on us, I asked if we could order another cheeseburger and just add it to our check. She had a concerned look on her face so I explained that Arianna has autism, and that in her mind, because the cheeseburger was cut in half, she thinks its broken and can’t eat it.
I told Lauren I knew it sounded silly, but if we could just order an additional one we will gladly pay for it because there was nothing wrong with the one that was originally brought out. Lauren was so sweet and just smiled and went along with Arianna, telling her “I brought you a broken cheeseburger?! You know what, I’ll have them cook you a new one!” I loved this because rather than just taking it from the table, she actually TOLD Arianna what she was doing. While this seems insignificant, by her telling Arianna what she was doing, we avoided a melt down.
The manager, Bradley Cottermole, then came to our table, kneeled down, and said to Arianna, “I heard we gave you a broken cheeseburger! I am so sorry about that! We are making you a brand new one that isn’t broken, with pickles! I’ll bring you some french fries to munch on while you’re waiting, ok?” A couple of minutes later, Lauren arrived back at our table with cheeseburger #2. Arianna said, “OH FANK YOU! You fixded my cheeseburger!”
When Lauren walked away, Arianna just sat there for a second and looked at her new burger. She looked like so deep in thought....just staring at it....then she let out a big ”OH I missed you!!” and started kissing the burger over and over again.
I showed Lauren this picture and said, “I think we glorified the cheeseburger too much!”
When Lauren, the waitress, showed the photo to her backroom staff, the entire room was also filled with smiles and laughter.
A little patience and understanding goes a long way for any parents or guardian with autistic kids under their care. That half burger could have make or break Anna's day, instead, it broke the viral code.