18-year-old shoe store employee praised for going 'above and beyond' to help autistic customer

Jacob Tayler, 18, is receiving praise for his sensitivity while helping a girl with autism at his weekend job as a shoe salesperson. (Photo: CNN)
Jacob Tayler, 18, is receiving praise for his sensitivity while helping a girl with autism at his weekend job as a shoe salesperson. (Photo: CNN)

An 18-year-old shoe salesperson is being praised for patiently helping an autistic customer feel comfortable while shopping . at a Clarks store in Bicester, England.

Jacob Tayler was at his job at the shoe store in March when he went "above and beyond" one mother's expectations. She was touched by Jacob's sensitivity to her daughter's needs and wanted to email the retailer to thank him for his kindness.

James Tayler, the teenager's father, was so proud of his son that he shared the "celebration alert" his son received at work on Twitter.

In the congratulatory letter, the mother’s feedback was shared verbatim.

"My daughter is autistic. She wanted to come in and try shoes but once in your store had a sensory overload," the mother wrote in the email. "Jacob came over and really kindly asked if he could help to which I answered ‘Yes please.' He didn't mention or acknowledge the situation but just sat [on] the floor and started talking to my daughter,” she wrote. “He gentle tried shoes on her and explained to her why they would feel different and in time they would soon feel OK. He sat patiently while she cried and I had to rock her and carried on when she was ready without any fuss and he didn't once make us feel like we were taking too long or being a nuisance."

The original tweet even drew the attention of the mother who initially emailed Clarks to provide the anecdote on Jacob’s customer service skills.

"Nobody mentioned she had autism," Jacob told CNN. "I just went over and asked if I could be of help... I'm trained to work with people with autism and disabilities, so I told her not to worry, saying I would stay with her and she wouldn't have to wait a while. I know how traumatic it can be for people with autism in a busy place."

Jacob has worked with Barnardo's, a children's charity, since he was 16. At summer camps, he's learned sign language and other non-verbal communications. The 18-year-old plans to apply for an apprenticeship as a firefighter after spending three months abroad helping people with disabilities. He may also take a full gap year to work in a school for children with autism.

"I do really enjoy working with children with autism and helping children in need," he told the outlet.

A spokesperson for Clarks provided a statement to CNN on Jacob’s kind act.

"We're so pleased to see Jacob's great customer service being recognized. All our store colleagues are trained in providing first class service to all consumers, and we are particularly proud that we are able to create a comfortable shopping environment for those on the autistic spectrum.

"We have provided quiet hours in our stores for some time, and in 2019, will be implementing a quiet hour in the majority of our stores every day. Clarks recognizes and celebrates individuality and we are proud to see our company values being so well expressed by store colleagues."

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