Dubbed "the best-known person in Northmead", this famous Australian worker with Down syndrome has decided to retired after 32 years.

Bringing smiles to customers' faces, O'Grady has worked at the fast-food store since 1986 and quickly became a popular employee at Northmead McDonald's in Sydney's West.

At 18 years old, he started at the restaurant on a work experience placement organised by Jobsupport, a government initiative that helps people with intellectual disabilities find paid employment.

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

McDonald's managers quickly recognised Russell's commitment to the job and over three decades he worked three days a week clearing trays, sweeping the floor and greeting customers.


Now, at 50, O'Grady will be hanging up his uniform, leaving a lot of sad customers behind, the Daily Telegraph reports.

McDonald's supervisor Courtney Purcell said O'Grady has become an icon in Northmead.

"We've got regular customers who come in to see Russell on Thursday and Friday, and the staff look after him, so we're going to miss him," she said.

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," he said.

When working with O'Grady, his job support trainer said the job gave him great experience with the real world.

"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."

O'Grady decided that retirement was the best decision for his health.

Now that he will have a lot of spare time, O'Grady will spend most of it enjoying his hobby of tenpin bowling at the Northmead Bowling Club.