The internet is coming to the defense of longtime Wegmans grocery store employee Chris Tuttle after he was berated by a customer for being "too slow" to check her out on Saturday. Tuttle, diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, has worked at the store for over seven years and while being a cashier isn't his primary job, his manager will sometimes ask him to cover a register if the store is busy.
According to his sister, Jamie Tuttle-Virkler, Tuttle was checking out a woman's groceries on Saturday when she began yelling at him for not moving fast enough. The woman then left in the middle of the transaction to find Tuttle's manager, and by the time she returned to the line, Tuttle was so shaken he dropped a candle and it shattered. The manager immediately removed him from his cashier position, but Tuttle remained upset for the rest of the day.
What this woman doesn't know is that 10 hours later, Chris told me the story as if it just happened, he was just as stressed and just as upset. She has no idea how damaging her actions were...to one person. Part of Asperger's is the inability to move on, to not be able to wrap his mind around the fact that this woman isn't worth it. To hear him tell the story, your heart will break. He doesn't understand why someone would be so nasty to him and for him, he takes it personal.
After much discussion with the whole family last night, he doesn't get that some people are just like that. Some people are just unaware of how their actions effect others and how their rudeness needs to be ignored and that it has nothing to do with him. I tell him all the time, some people will "get you" and some won't. The people that "get you" those people are your friends, focus your energy there.
She then asked those in her community who visit the store to either leave her brother a message of support on Facebook or let him know he's doing a great job next time they see him at Wegmans. And while the local community responded positively, so did the world; by Monday evening, the post had over 77,000 likes, 12,000 shares, and over 12,000 messages of support for Tuttle.
The moving messages range from those who interact with Tuttle regularly to Wegmans employees who have never met him, reminding him that sometimes grocery store customers are just assholes. As Amy Johnson Strong writes to him, "Chris, I've worked for Wegmans for 21 years and I've been yelled at by customers too. It shakes you up. No doubt about it. Keep your chin up and keep doing the great job you do. For every difficult customer there are hundreds more who are thankful for your help. Be strong for them. They need you."