Chris Tuttle, a grocery store worker with Asperger's syndrome, was reportedly yelled at by a customer for ringing up her purchases too slowly Saturday night. But supporters of Tuttle got in the last word -- and then some.
Thousands have to come to the defense of Tuttle, 28, after his older sister, Jamie Tuttle-Virkler, posted an account on Facebook of what happened at the Wegmans supermarket in Clay, N.Y.
With the checkout lines growing longer, Tuttle, a 7-year employee, was removed from his usual maintenance duties to help out on the register, according to the retelling. A woman screamed at him for taking too long and left in the middle of the transaction to complain publicly to a manager, his sister wrote. When the customer returned to Tuttle's line, he was so rattled that he dropped and broke a candle she had purchased. A manager took him off the register immediately and explained Tuttle's situation to the customer, but the emotional damage was done.
Tuttle was so shaken by the incident that he was not able to let go of it, so his sister asked Facebook visitors to give him a "shout out" and let him know he is appreciated.
"Chris deserves better and if he's ever put a smile on your heart, could you let him know?" his sister wrote. "Could you leave a comment or the next time you go to Wegmans, could you tell him? I want him to have a better day."
One Facebook visitor put it succinctly: "Chris, you are AMAZING! She was just mean!"
Tuttle told the Syracuse Post-Standard in an interview (video above) that he has been approached by strangers with words of admiration; one woman even brought a card to the store that read, "Thank you for smiling all the time."
As for the store patron who made his life miserable, Tuttle said he still managed to utter a "Have a nice day" with a smile. "You have to kill 'em with kindness," he said.
People with Asperger's, a developmental disorder, can have trouble with coordination and communication.
The Complete facebook post:
Do you know this guy Chris Tuttle? If you do, I need you to give him a shout out! He is my little brother and yesterday at Wegmans, a customer yelled at him and then in the middle of her transaction, left to complain loudly to a manager, came back to his line and he was so shaken, dropped a candle she bought on the ground and it shattered. Luckily the manager took him off register immediately because clearly he was upset. The customer's problem? Chris was checking her out...TOO SLOW and she was furious. She yelled at him, the manager and anyone else who would listen.
Do you know Chris? He has Asperger's syndrome. He is the happiest guy you will ever meet-I say that because if you know him, if you have seen him at Wegmans, if he has helped you load your car with groceries, if he has helped you find popcorn on aisle 13, if he has checked you out on aisle 12, if he has taken your trash from the café or if he has mopped the floor after you've spilt a jar of pickles-then you already know that and I need you to let him know. Is he slow? Yes, probably. But as the manager explained to the womanyesterday, cashier isn't his primary job. He gets called to cashier when Wegmans is busy, so they put him on cashier to HELP out.
What this woman doesn't know is that 10 hours later, Chris told me the story as if it just happened, he was just as stressed and just as upset. She has no idea how damaging her actions were...to one person. Part of Asperger's is the inability to move on, to not be able to wrap his mind around the fact that this woman isn't worth it. To hear him tell the story, your heart will break. He doesn't understand why someone would be so nasty to him and for him, he takes it personal.
After much discussion with the whole family last night, he doesn't get that some people are just like that. Some people are just unaware of how their actions effect others and how their rudeness needs to be ignored and that it has nothing to do with him. I tell him all the time, some people will "get you" and some won't. The people that "get you" those people are your friends, focus your energy there.
Hugs and kisses to Wegmans for employing him for 7 years, for giving him a chance, for giving him a life, a job to look forward to everyday and understanding managers, despite his disabilities. xoxo
Chris deserves better and if he's ever put a smile on your heart, could you let him know? Could you leave a comment or the next time you go to Wegmans, could you tell him? I want him to have a better day!
From Daily Mail:
People from all around the country responded with loving comments, calling him an inspiration and urging him to keep up the good work. Other people with Asperger's even voiced their support.
'Chris I don't even know you but I want you to know that you are wonderful and I love you for who you are!' one woman commented.
Another man wrote: 'You Rock Chris. She is the one with the problem, not you.'
On Monday, Virkler expressed her gratitude to everyone who wished her brother well.
'Amazing how much love and support... Thank you so much to everyone, I just wanted to brighten his day and WOW you have done more than that!' she wrote.