Child with autism fulfills dream of being a Wendy’s manager

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A little boy on the autism spectrum got to fulfill his dream of working as a manager at Wendy’s for a day today.

Eric Johnson, a first-grader with autism, was so excited to live out his life-long dream.

“I said to him, what do you want to be when you grow up,” Denise Johnson said, Eric’s mother. “I thought he was going to say like a professional gamer, he just said I want to be a Wendy’s manager.”

Johnson says she is an advocate for workplace disability.

“When we talk about that, we often talk about race, and gender identity, we don’t always talk about people with special abilities, and I think it’s time we start talking about that,” Johnson said.

A customer at the fast-food restaurant, Dedee Culley, says she also has a son with special abilities.

“I have to be able to know that my son’s going to be able to get a job, Eric’s going to be able to get a job, I need them to be able to be educated, and be able to be active, and kids that can give back to our community,” Culley said.

Glenn Schomder, general manager at Wendy’s, says the budget is something that can prevent a business from hiring people with special abilities.

“We’re limited by how much we’re allowed to spend for our labor based on how much money the store makes, so a store that’s much busier has more hours that you could work with and stuff like that,” Schomder said.

Eric did get to serve a few customers through the drive-thru window even though the snow kept a lot of people at home.



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Aaron Nolan is a morning show co-host in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nexstar Media Group's KARK-TV. He has a passion for social media and makes it an important part of his daily routine. Click here to read Aaron's full bio.

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