Emma Shawcross, a mom from Norfolk, England, went shopping at a local Tesco grocery store in 2016. Emma spotted a cash register with no line, so she walked over with her groceries and started laying items on the conveyor belt. The grocery store cashier took forever to ring her up, but her response was not what you would expect.
“The guy on the till said hello and started scanning my items as I was still putting them on the belt the other end,” she said. “You can imagine the pile of stuff that was waiting for me when I went to go pack.”
Emma says the cashier, Rob, counted out her shopping bags several times, crushed her loaf of bread, and recounted her change multiple times.
Based on his behavior and her own experience, Emma knew Rob had autism.
When Emma got home, she logged into Facebook and posted about her experience on Tesco’s official Facebook page. She wanted everyone at Rob’s company, including his boss, to know about what had happened.
But trust us, this was not the negative rant so many post on social media.
Emma hopes this story will remind people not be so quick to judge and to be patient with others.
Emma went home and wrote a Facebook post about what happened. Her post went viral.
“I want to tell you about my experience at your Diss store today.
“When I got to the till with my large trolley of shopping there was no queue, so I started putting my items straight onto the conveyer belt.”
“The guy on the till said hello and started scanning my items as I was still putting them on the belt the other end.
“You can imagine the pile of stuff that was waiting for me when I went to go pack.”
“When I asked him for 5 bags he counted each one, then recounted them a further 2 times before handing them over to me.”
Emma watched the items as they moved down the conveyor belt. She expected to see her loaf of bread stay the way it was when she picked it off the grocery store shelf.
“The guy didn’t really talk to me, he squashed my bread when he scanned it but I waited patiently whilst he took his time, especially when trying to scan the awkward items.”
“By the time I went to pay I had already worked it out, so I counted out my money with him, which he obviously recounted and then counted my change out two times.”
Even though the grocery store cashier took forever to ring her up, Emma said: “But you know every moment of that was just perfect.”
“I asked him how he was finding the job and he chatted a bit about his experience of Tesco and how they had given him an opportunity many other employers hadn’t.”
This is Emma’s 12-year-old son, Ethan. Emma finished her post:
“See this guy is Autistic. As a mother of a 12 year Autistic boy this makes my heart smile. Changing attitudes teamed with employers, like you, who really do offer equal opportunities are changing people’s lives.”
“So thank you Tesco, it was a pleasure shopping with you today.”
Even though this grocery store cashier took forever to ring her up, Emma hopes to help companies understand that disability should not be a barrier to employment.
Matt is a writer, editor, and content strategist currently based in Washington state. He has worked as a managing editor for the iconic I Can Has Cheezburger, Celebuzz (a SpinMedia site), and now Mamas Uncut. He also acted as the Social Media Director for CafeMom.
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