Restaurant Owner Takes A Stand For Autistic Waiter

Unless you happen to be a tall, white, handsome man, you've probably experienced some type of discrimination in your lifetime. It may have been subtle, just a whispered comment as you walked by, or, it might have been in-your-face and life-threatening, but both are forms of prejudice that we hear about every day. We here at Wimp believe that no person should be treated differently, regardless of skin color, religion, abilities or gender, so when we hear a story of someone taking a stand against prejudice, we're always eager to share it. Fighting age-old stereotypes is no easy feat, which makes what's happening at Grenache Restaurant in Manchester, England, that much more important.

45-year-old Andy Forster knows what it's like to face prejudice in his daily life. You see, Andy happens to be autistic, and unfortunately, he's often confronted by people who don't understand what that means. They might take his lack of eye contact as rudeness or feel put-off when he does not seem engaged in their conversation, not realizing that it's just part of who Andy is.

But, there's a lot more to Andy than that. He takes care of his mother, who has Alzheimer's, and works to support the two of them. His passion for good food and the hospitality industry led him to Grenache, but he'd only been working as a waiter there for three weeks when rude patrons began to hassle him. They didn't want to be served by him, even after Grenache's owner, Mike Jennings, explained that Andy was autistic. Instead, they asked, “Why would you give him a job?” Jennings was shocked, and knew he had to take a stand.


This is Grenache Restaurant in Manchester – and it's no mom-and-pop shop! The 5-star fine dining restaurant features a menu that changes with the season, as only fresh and local ingredients are used. They win industry awards regularly, including “Best Restaurant” and “Best Chef.” 

Typically, it's a place where people are on their best behavior. After all, it's not every day that you get to eat tagliatelle of woodland mushrooms or grilled filet of hake!

Which makes what happened on March 2 so surprising, Dinner service was in full-swing when Andy (left) told his boss Mike (right) that he was having a problem with a table. Mike approached the patrons and politely explained that Andy was autistic – and a great waiter they were lucky to have! Their response? “Why would you give him a job?”


Mike couldn't believe what he heard, and took to Facebook to stand up for Andy.


Thoughts on an incident which occurred last night....Totally unacceptable.Strongly worded but we need to get our point across.#equalopportunities

Posted by Grenache Restaurant on Thursday, March 3, 2016

We couldn't agree with Mike's words more! Since his post went live it has been shared over 5,000 times, with support for Andy pouring in from all over the globe. A lot of people wanted to know how they could help, so Mike and his wife Karen set up a fund-raising page for the National Autistic Society, the U.K.'s leading charity for autistic individuals and their families. If you'd like to donate, click here.

To hear Mike and Andy tell the story in their own words, check out the video below.

H/T: LittleThings | Grenache Restaurant

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