McDonald's worker with Down's syndrome celebrates 30 years in job

By Adam Boult

Russell during his first two years in the job. Photo / Job Support Inc
Russell during his first two years in the job. Photo / Job Support Inc

A branch of McDonald's in Sydney, Australia, threw a party this week to mark the 30th anniversary of one staff member's first day on the job.

Russell O'Grady, 48, who has Down's syndrome, first came to the restaurant on a work experience placement organised by Jobsupport, a government initiative that helps people with intellectual disabilities find paid employment.

McDonald's managers quickly recognised Russell's commitment to the job - and three decades on he's still there, working three days a week clearing trays, sweeping the floor and greeting customers.

Russell O'Grady celebrating his 30 year milestone. Photo / Job Support Inc
Russell O'Grady celebrating his 30 year milestone. Photo / Job Support Inc

"It really helps him, he gets a lot of social interaction and makes him feel like part of the community," Jobsupport trainer Nikita Vandaru told dailytelegraph.com.au.

"When I watch him work, every second customer will stop and talk to him. He's got a huge smile on his face every time they come."

Russell's father Geoff O'Grady told the Daily Mail that his son had become something of a local celebrity thanks to his job at the restaurant: "People stop him on the street and shake his hand. He's very affectionate, dearly loved and appreciated, to such an extent that we just don't believe it."

Russell is planning on retiring in a couple of years - at which point he'll be matching the 32 years of service achieved by another McDonald's worker we reported on earlier this year.

Freia David, who also has Down's syndrome, began working at a fast-food restaurant in Massachusetts in 1984.

When she stepped down in August McDonald's threw a party for their long-serving employee , with over 100 of her family, friends and colleagues attending.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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