They say that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life – that adage rings true for McDonald employee Chris Campbell who has Down Syndrome. Last week, he celebrated working in the same Georgia location on Buford Highway for 27 years!
Chris, 43, has handled multiple tasks since became a McDonald employee – from maintenance work to greeting people and currently, to making Happy Meal boxes. The man certainly loves what he does.
Chris told WXIA-TV in Atlanta:
“I like to clean, mopping, cleaning the tables and making Happy Meal boxes. I love the Happy Meal boxes. Every time I give them the boxes it makes each person happy.”
On March 15, Chris commemorated this milestone surrounded by crew members, friends, and family. The celebration came about after the branch changed ownership, and the new operator, Kellie Vander, was impressed with Chris’ story and dedication to his job. She says that Chris was never late for work and loves what he does, plus, the customers love him too.
Kellie told InsideEdition.com:
“For anyone to be at any business for 27 years is pretty remarkable. For a man with Down syndrome to be employed by the same brand and three different owner-operators over the years speaks to his personality.”
Dozens of people attended the party and Chris was awarded a “Golden Star” trophy along with a certificate in honor of the occasion. The McDonald’s location also donated a portion of the sales during the event to the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta.
Among those who attended the event was Sherly Arno, executive director of the DSAA. She says that Chris’ achievement is remarkable because of society’s past cultural attitudes towards people with Down Syndrome. Sherly adds that nearly three decades ago, “it was pretty unheard of” for people like Chris to have a job, as most of them faced “institutional” lives.
Chris’ proud mom, Barbara Campbell, says that her son enjoys his job as a McDonald employee and that he has found a great support team in his workmates.
During the celebration, Kellie says that Chris had “smile from ear to ear the whole day”.
“I spoke to his mom today and she said the smile has not gone away.”, she adds.
According to the National Down Syndrome Society, many people with Down Syndrome are able to work, but there is often a lack of opportunity.
In an online presentation, the organization writes:
“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. Like in any population, job seekers with Down syndrome have a range of abilities and personalities.”
Kellie says that Chris’ story is something that would give hope to parents of children with Down Syndrome.
“His mother … always told him, ‘You can do anything you want to do.’”
We believe so, too.
Congratulations to Chris for his 27th year as McDonald employee! We admire his dedication and positive contribution to the workplace, and we hope that his story gives confidence to families of people with Down Syndrome that there are opportunities for them out there, and that they have a place in society despite of their differences.
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