A Texas mom is lauding a local Chick-fil-A for how it handled a unique breakfast order for her 8-year-old son who is autistic.
Marlee Olivarez, in a Facebook post, says she and her son, Matthew, went through the drive-through window at the Edinburg, Texas, Chick-fil-A, where she ordered a Hash Brown Scramble Bowl – a breakfast bowl – for Matthew.
Because Matthew prefers the ingredients not to touch each other, Olivarez asked if the ingredients – egg, chicken, hash browns and cheese – could be separated.
“Of course, Chick-fil-A gladly did it,” Olivarez wrote on Facebook.
“When getting to the window to pay, we waited a bit because they had to take the time to separate everything,” she wrote. “The manager comes up and says ‘Out of the many years I’ve been working for Chick-fil-A, I have never heard or seen anyone ask for this item separated. I’m curious, is there a reason why?’ That was a perfect time to spread awareness and share how the mind and preferences of an individual with ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] work. I explained to him why & he was so glad I shared that tidbit. His response ‘I am so glad you shed some light to me and the employees today and thank you all so much for coming. Please do not hesitate to ask for it like this again.’”
Chick-fil-A placed each ingredient in a separate bowl.
The story went viral on Facebook with 7,000 shares and received media coverage in local and national outlets. Olivarez labeled the post “Autism Awareness Post.”
“Thank you Chick-fil-A Edinburg for politely asking and understanding something someone might see as annoying or inconvenient and making Matthew his breakfast in a way that he would eat it and not have an overload with the different textures,” the mom wrote.
Sam Guardiola, who works at the Edinburg Chick-fil-A, told KVEO-TV he was glad Olivarez spoke up.
“She informed me that it was because of her son who’s autistic, and he wanted to feel the texture of each individual item,” Guardiola said. “So, me being a father of three, I understood her completely. … It was more of a pleasure. I know Chick-fil-A is about guest service, customer service, and striving to do the best for our guest and so it was just something so natural to do for her. When she was so grateful for it, well, it just encouraged the whole team to do an even better job.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tom Pennington/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.