Restaurant 'Fires' Customer Who Berated Their Autistic Delivery Driver


It is of utmost importance for a respectable establishment to keep their patrons happy, especially if the business is a part of the service industry; however, it is also important to protect its own workers if the clients are out of line. That is exactly what P.J. Gialopsos, owner of Little Italy Restaurante in Anchorage, Alaska did for one of her workers when an irate customer verbally harassed their delivery driver. Her solution was to stop accepting orders from the disrespectful customer.

Gialopsos posted the incident of the retaurant's Facebook page on Nov. 11 saying she was not sure if she should tell the public about it and how she should approach the incident. She then went on to describe how her daughter, who also works in the restaurant, answered a call from a customer who complained about their delivery driver for handing him the wrong food container, accused him of being on drugs and ranted using foul language. Gialopsos' daughter explained to the caller that their delivery driver has worked for their restaurant for two years and she assured that he was not on drugs but that he had a speech impediment and has autism, which made him socially awkward. Unlike previous complaints on the driver when customers understood, however, the man did not stop.

Their driver returned to the restaurant after the delivery noticeably shaken and, when asked what happened, he told Gialopsos that he had mixed up the food pouch which angered the customer but that he apologized and quickly went back to the car to retrieve the correct pouch containing the customer's order. "The customer wasn't happy with the extra few seconds he had to wait," the driver informed them and continued to berate him and call him names.

Concerned with the customer's rude behavior to two of her employees, she decided to pull up the identification of the customer and informed all her staff that the restaurant will no longer accept orders from him. She also decided to post the incident on the restaurant's Facebook page to let people know that such rude behavior will not be tolerated.

Their driver is happy with the support he received instead of getting fired like many people with autism suffer after a complaint is lodged, but he and his family had asked to remain unnamed because he just wants to do his work.

"So (the driver) is a little awkward socially -- gee whiz -- that doesn't give you a right to call him a foul name and make his day miserable," Gialopsos said in an interview.

Here's to hoping the short-tempered customer learned his lesson.

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