Does having Down syndrome mean there is no chance for career prospects? Meet Russell O’Grady. Against all odds, this Australian man with Down’s Syndrome who worked at the same McDonald’s restaurant for 32 years finally retired at the age of 50.

Russell joined to the McDonald’s in Northmead when he was at age 18. He was able to secure the job with the help of disability employment initiative by Job Support,a government program in Australia aimed at helping individuals with intellectual disabilities find employment. According to his co workers, his Down syndrome never affected his work ethic.

He joined the restaurant in 1984, a time when people actually didn’t know how to interact with someone with a disability. But due to Ruselle’s enthusiasm and friendliness, he was able to gain the trust and compassion not only from customers but also from his co workers.

Russell became really well-known and liked in his community. People made a habit of visiting him during his shifts and loved to hang out with him. His utmost positivity had made a good impression on everyone.

Kate O’Grady, an assistant manager at Job Support, stated that Russell is a charming friendly individual and many people love to approach him and say hi to him. Also, he is very committed and finished his job responsibilities without any complaints. His dedication to his work was able to make his co workers love him even more.

McDonald’s supervisor Courtney Purcell mentioned how Ruselle has become a local celebrity. She stated not only the co workers who looked after him for 32 years going to miss him but the regular customers who came on every Thursday and Friday going to miss him as well.

Ruselle’s brother Lindsey stated, “He’s kind of blase about [the job] but loves his work very much. He’s pretty cheeky sometimes. He’s my big brother and he keeps me in line.”

Indeed, many people going to miss Ruselle’s presence but surely they will not forget him. 

As Russell starts this new part of his life, his story shows how important it is to never give up and to include everyone. It reminds us to give everyone a chance to do well and to support them along the way.


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