REAL LIFE

Spotlight employee tells woman to put her autistic brother ‘on a leash’

This is absolutely shocking.

George, a 24-year-old male with autism, loves visiting Spotlight, but he’s been left traumatised after a spotlight employee told his sister to ‘put him on a leash’.

George’s sister Natole, told Kidspot: ‘On Monday, he wanted blue sticky tape – sometimes it’s to play with the magnets or play with gooey stuff. It’s random because he likes variety.’ 

So Natole explains that George went to Spotlight with his carer, Claudia, in search of blue sticky tape.

But this time when they entered the Box Hill store in Melbourne the gobsmacked pair were met with nothing but hostility.

‘George was robbed of this basic human right as his sole presence apparently offended the manager of Spotlight and ‘scared’ the customers of the store. Admittedly, George is a boisterous young man but he is happy, friendly and completely harmless,’ Natole explains in a Facebook post.

‘George was most definitely not breaking any law by visiting a place he regularly visits. This manager was rude and aggressive towards George’s carer and made it very clear that George was not welcome. In fact, she slammed the door of her office while the carer tried to speak in his defence.’

George and Claudia were made to feel so unwelcome that they were left with no choice but to leave the store.

Natole, explains how much the awful incident has affected her baby brother.

‘He held Claudia’s hand the whole way home and his palms were clammy which is not typical of him – he was visibly anxious. He hasn’t been himself all week – he keeps saying ‘no school’ which is his way of saying ‘no outing’,’ she says.

‘He has been going to bed early which is his coping mechanism. He is good at sensing vibes – so the situation obviously didn’t sit well with him.’

Spotlight has since responded with the following statement: ‘We are currently in contact with George’s family including his father and sister to offer our sincere apologies on behalf of the Spotlight team.  We have spoken to the store team in question and wish to express that any offense that was given, does not reflect the values of Spotlight.’

The statement continued, ‘We are a family business committed to our communities and our doors are open to all. We have taken statements from all staff members and all of them say those words about ‘on a leash’ were not used.’

This article originally appeared on New Idea.

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