Chris Tuttle, a Wegmans cashier with Asperger's Syndrome, was recently berated by a rude woman who evidently had super important things to do and places to be. The woman, who hasn't been identified, apparently yelled at Tuttle for not being fast enough, calling him "too slow," and left the line mid-checkout to find his manager so she could file a formal complaint. After the woman left the line, Tuttle became so shook up that he dropped a candle, which shattered all over the floor. Tuttle, who's worked at Wegmans for seven years (not as a cashier), was then removed from his post. According to a Facebook post his sister wrote, Chris remained upset for the rest of the day.
Jamie Tuttle-Virkler, Chris' sister, wrote:
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.
So, basically this rude woman didn't realize just how much this would affect Chris. Or maybe she did and didn't care? I'm going out on a limb here and surmise that this lady isn't the softest, cuddliest person on earth, because even though many of us have grown impatient waiting on checkout lines, I don't think many of us have ever exploded on the cashier. It takes a special kind of person to go there.
Although this story is both heartbreaking and enraging, there is a silver lining. See, Jamie asked people who regularly shop at Chris' Wegmans to stop in and tell him what a great job he's doing -- and they have. People also have left Chris over 12,000 messages of support on his Facebook page, and by Monday evening, Jamie's post had over 77,000 likes and 12,000 shares. Kindness trumped rudeness, thanks to the Internet, which, ironically, usually is the home of rudeness.
Hopefully, Chris is back in better spirits, and he realizes how valued he is at Wegmans. And hopefully the woman who caused this whole thing will be inspired to be a little more patient when she's shopping for candles.
What would you do if you witnessed something like this? Have you ever witnessed something like this?
Image via Bob Rowan/Progressive Image/Corbis