Rude Customer Turns Grocery Cashier Into Social Media Hero
When Jamie Virkler of Baldwinsville, New York, wrote a post on Facebook about her brother’s bad day at work, she was hoping it would get a handful of positive comments that would help her brother, 28-year-old Chris Tuttle, feel a little better. What she didn’t expect was the outpouring of support her brother, who has Asperger syndrome – a disorder that involves developmental delays in socializing and other abilities – would receive. Since the post went up at 8:22 a.m. on Sunday, it has garnered around 100,000 likes and generated more than 16,000 comments.
"The whole thing just happened so quickly," Jaime Virkler tells Yahoo Shine. “I wish I could address every single comment. I want to thank everyone because they have no idea what it means to Chris. I don’t think he’s stopped smiling.
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”Virkler decided to put up the post after Tuttle had told her that a female customer at the Wegmans grocery store where he works had yelled at him for being too slow at the cash register. The customer rattled Tuttle so much that he accidentally dropped and broke a candle she was purchasing and was then taken off register duty. Tuttle, whom Virkler describes as having a "big personality," was still upset about the exchange hours later, says his sister, who thought that a few supportive comments from friends on Facebook would cheer him up. “He is always on Facebook and I wanted to reach him with a vehicle that he connects with.”
Positive comments have come in from as far away as Pakistan, Australia, and South Africa, and many are from parents of children with disabilities. Colorado-based Kathy Recker wrote on Facebook, “If Wegmans was in Littleton, Colorado, I would go there today as I have a daughter with similar problems, autism, high functioning with Asperger’s being a part of it,” while Katy De Sousa of Bonita Springs, Florida posted, “My 12-year-old daughter has Asperger's so I understand what poor Chris is going through. I'm so glad he has a supportive family to back him up.”
The swell of support has had exactly the kind of positive effect on Tuttle that Virkler had hoped it would. “It makes me feel happier and it makes me feel blessed,” Tuttle tells Yahoo Shine. Tuttle has worked at Wegmans in Liverpool, New York, for the past seven years and says his favorite part of his job is “interacting with the customers.”
Since the post went up, he’s had more interaction than usual. According to Tuttle, customers have dropped off personal cards at the store addressed to him, some people have come in just to shake his hand, and some have even asked for an autograph. “Today I signed a woman’s coffee cup from Starbucks because she didn’t have anything else,” he says, noting that he is reading a few posts every night.
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Pam Milac, a Wegmans customer and friend of the family, stopped by the store Tuesday morning to see how Chris was doing. “He was at the cash register, and people were coming up to him and saying, 'Great job, Chris,'" she says, noting that while the other checkout lines stood empty, there was a line for Tuttle's register. “Chris is a teddy bear. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Milac says. “This couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.”
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