Smiling McDonald’s worker with Down’s syndrome finally retires after 32 years

A ‘legendary’ McDonald’s worker with Down’s syndrome is finally retiring – after more than 30 years of making customers smile.

Dedicated Russell O’Grady has been a trailblazer since working his first shift for the fast food chain in 1986, when he was aged just 18.

Over the past three decades, the 50-year-old has remained loyal to the company, proudly donning his red shirt, badges and black cap.

Described as a ‘hard worker’, he has brought a smile to the faces of countless diners at Northmead McDonald’s in Sydney, Australia.

But now, an impressive 32 years after first putting on the chain’s uniform, he is retiring – leaving behind many sad customers.

Some regularly visit the restaurant to see Russell, who has become a much-loved hero in the area, according to The Daily Telegraph.

McDonald’s supervisor Courtney Purcell said: "We’ve got regular customers who come in to see Russell on Thursday and Friday, and the staff look after him, so we’re going to miss him."

The inspirational worker is often seen cleaning tables and greeting customers at the restaurant, telling them: "Hello!"

And he always has a beam on his face.

Taking to Facebook after reading the news of Russell’s retirement, one person commented: "I’ve actually met Russell before.

"He is a very hard working young man, always with a smile on his face. Congrats on the retirement champion."

Another wrote: "I spoke with Russell on Thursday and told him what an achievement it was to have 30 years of service as I noticed his badge he was wearing. Well done mate, you’re a legend."

And a third said: "Always a smile and hello."

Russell’s McDonald’s career started with work experience – but turned into a job after he proved himself to be a valuable worker.

He has spent the past three decades surrounded by "fantastic" staff.

His proud father previously told of how his son had become "the best-known person in Northmead" since starting his job.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia two years ago, dad Geoff O’Grady said: "People stop him on the street and shake his hand.

"He’s very affectionate, dearly loved and appreciated, to such an extent that we just don’t believe it."

He added that Russell’s job had given him a different outlook on life.

‘Somebody said to him, ‘Are you handicapped?’ And his answer was, ‘I used to be when I went to school, but now I work at McDonald’s’," he recalled.

Russell’s work experience placement as a teenager was organised by the Australian government employment initiative, Jobsupport.

The programme aims to "place, train and maintain as many people with a significant intellectual disability as possible into quality jobs in the regular workforce that meet both their employment needs and the needs of the employer", according to its website.

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