Do you think it’s tough to find good help these days? You need to meet Chris Campbell.
Recently, Campbell celebrated his 27th year of dedicated employment at the same Atlanta-area McDonald’s.
As you might expect, the eatery went all-out to recognize Campbell’s long-term loyalty. Campbell received a homemade cake, a star-shaped trophy and a commemorative certificate, WXIA-TV reported.
A fellow staffer told USA Today the festivities lasted several hours. All that time, Campbell was surrounded by dozens of friends, family and fellow crew members.
He’s actually known by co-workers as the Happy Meal expert, and certainly, his steadfast work ethic sets him apart.
But something else sets Campbell apart; this long-time employee just happens to have Down syndrome.
The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta helped sponsor Campbell’s festive celebration, WXIA -TV reported. Executive director Sheryl Arno was among those in attendance.
Coincidentally, Campbell’s big gala also took place just before World Down Syndrome Day. According to the World Down Syndrome Day website, this global awareness date is observed annually on March 21.
For individuals with Down syndrome and their families, there’s significance to the number 21. As Genetics Home Reference explains, extra genetic material from chromosome 21 causes Down syndrome.
But clearly, none of that has slowed Campbell down in the slightest. His mother Barbara told WXIA-TV that her son truly relishes his work and his supportive team environment.
However, Arno told USA Today that cultural attitudes toward folks with Down syndrome can pose a real challenge. She said that a few decades ago, “it was pretty unheard of” for these individuals to hold down a job at all.
The National Down Syndrome Society emphasizes that many people with Down syndrome are perfectly willing and able to work, but they’re simply not given the chance.
“Like in any population, job seekers with Down syndrome have a range of abilities and personalities,” the organization wrote in a recent report.
They added that “the key to successful employment is to match individuals with Down syndrome with needed skills, tasks and workplace culture — just like any other employment match.”
Anyone who encounters Campbell on the job can plainly see he’s a fantastic match for McDonald’s.
“I like to clean, mopping, cleaning the tables and making Happy Meal boxes. I love the Happy Meal boxes,” Campbell told WXIA-TV. “Every time I give them the boxes, it makes each person happy.”
In a statement to WXIA-TV, DSAA said that people with Down syndrome share the same aspirations as anyone. “With advocacy and the right supports,” they said, employers and communities can help these hopes and dreams come alive.
Reflecting on her son’s stellar work ethic, Barbara Campbell absolutely agreed.
“He’s got determination, a lot of fight, and he’s going to the top no matter what … and no one’s going to stop him!” she told WXIA-TV.