Anchorage restaurant “fires” customer for mistreating driver with autism

Little Italy Restaurante
Little Italy Restaurante

A restaurant in Alaska is being overwhelmed with support after its owner took to Facebook to defend an autistic employee who was mistreated by a customer while on a food delivery.


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The owner of the Little Italy Restaurante in Anchorage told the Alaska Dispatch News that the customer called to complain after the delivery driver mixed up his order. P.J. Gialopsos said the customer was ranting, using foul language, and accusing the driver of using drugs.

P.J. Gialopsos’s daughter, who took the call, assured the customer that the driver was not using drugs and explained that he’s autistic and has a speech impediment.

It wasn’t the first time the restaurant received complaints. But once employees explain the delivery driver has a disability, customers generally understand.

Gialopsos said when the driver returned from the delivery with the irate customer he was shaken up.

That the moment when Gialopsos and her husband Spiro, decided to “fire” the customer and instructed staff to never again take a reservation or order from him.

Gialopsos followed-up with a Facebook post that generated overwhelming support for her actions.

You can read that Facebook post below:

This has been pondered for days now: should I write this post and HOW should I write this post?
Over the weekend we received a complaint about one of our delievery drivers. The customer wasn’t simply complaining, he was ranting and foul. He informed us our driver was an idiot and strung out on drugs and was FURIOUS!

It was calmly explained to him, no, this driver is not on drugs….nor does he drink….he is autistic and has a slight speech impediment. The customer called the phone person a liar, had a few more choice words for her and hung up.

When the driver returned, he came into my office a little shaken because the customer was angry (he had mixed up the pouch of food but quickly retrieved the correct order from his car.Mistakes are made all the time in the course of a business life, and when we make them we do our very best to correct the problem immediately. )…that didn’t satisfy this man….he berated him and then called him a name I won’t even elude to here.

It isn’t the first time I’ve had a comment about this employee, but normally, as soon as I explain, they are always VERY understanding that the mannerisms had a reason.

This driver has worked for us for two years. He is a seriously accomplished University student, has an amazingly inquisitive personality, a wicked sense of humor and one helluva work ethic!

You would think, in the year 2015 the majority of the population would have learned or at least heard about autism. I understand that there is a large portion of our population that is content to remain uninformed and uneducated, but that doesn’t give them to right to take that ignorance and turn it into a foul mouthed rant on two of my employees!

Therefore, we have fired this customer. That address, that name and phone number will be tagged with a DO NOT DELIVER DO NOT ACCEPT ORDER message.

…… And won’t that customer be surprised later in life to learn that his “idiot strung out” delivery driver long ago turned out to be the physicist, microbiologist or chemical engineer who could quite possibly make a discovery that will save his sorry *** someday.
Just sayin’.

Thank you for allowing my own little rant here.