While 7 years old might be a little young to start working, Dylan Russell is a special exception.
Dylan, who has autism, loves to help his mom grocery shop at the Asda supermarket in Huyton, Merseyside. Whenever they got to the checkout, however, he always got agitated because he had nothing to keep himself busy.
Asda cashier Gareth Hughes spotted the youngster cleaning up and decided to say hi to him and his mother before they had to leave.
“He was such a friendly and pleasant lad and I chatted to him and his mum before they left,” said Gareth. “I didn’t think too much of it until the next week when he came in again, saw me and said ‘Hello Gareth, how are you?’ I knew then I’d made a little friend!”
In order to make the boy feel welcome, the store staff started giving Dylan little odd jobs to do, like directing people to the next open check out till.
The employees then went one step further and gave Dylan a tour of the store. He was shown the store freezer, the back rooms, the delivery area – and he was even allowed to make his own pizza.
They also gave him a little gift to take home with him.
“We knew he would be coming back the week after so we made him a name badge which he loved and took home with him,” said Hughes. “It’s just been little things really to show him what we do and make him feel welcome when he comes to the store.”
Now, whenever the youngster returns to the store, he is encouraged to relieve his anxiety by doing whatever he can to help out.
“I can’t thank Gareth enough for everything he’s done for Dylan. The store tour was absolutely brilliant – Dylan loved it and we’re so touched,” says Dylan’s mom Michelle. “He’s told everyone what Gareth has done for him and keeps saying ‘I’ve got a name badge’. He’s even been telling everyone he works at Asda! He’s in his element when he’s in the store.”
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Reprint (Photos by Asda)