Monday, January 6, 2014

Pizzeria gives student with Down syndrome first job

On Monday evenings and Saturday afternoons, his family drops him off or stays for dinner while he works rolling silverware, wiping tables and opening the door to customers under the supervision of owner Marc Hanmer.
Hanmer has been in the restaurant business for 24 years and has hired employees with disabilities before in restaurants he previously owned.
“There are things we can do for them. There are menial tasks a lot of people don’t like to do, but task-oriented individuals don’t mind doing, like rolling silverware,” Hanmer said.
“We’re trying it out to see if it works.”
Schrupp started going to Brixx with his family in 2011 when the restaurant first opened because the menu offers gluten-free pizza. Schrupp has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder irritated by gluten, so he pushes that particular menu item.
“We’ve got the best gluten-free pizza,” he said.
“Steven said he wanted to work there, and the owner said when he’s old enough, he can,” his mother, Susan Schrupp, said.
As an extrovert, Schrupp is getting along with both employees and customers.
“Customers like him, and we have a loyal base of customers here. A lot of people are starting to recognize him. He’s friendly,” Hanmer said.
The owner said Schrupp has to work on understanding when the tables are clean.
“It’s challenging, but he’s a good kid and deserves the opportunity to do something.”
Now that he has an income, Schrupp’s paychecks are going into the bank, and he said he does have a purchase in mind.
“I put it in my bank account. I want to buy a video game, and save it for college,” Schrupp said.
His mother added, “That’s what he wants to do. We’re looking at programs at Vanderbilt; they have a two-year program for people with disabilities. That’s his mission.”

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