Restaurant fires patron who berated autistic delivery driver

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska restaurant is being overwhelmed with goodwill after its owner defended an autistic delivery driver who was berated by a customer.

The customer called Little Italy Restaurante in Anchorage to loudly complain after the delivery employee mixed up an order, claiming the driver was using drugs. Owner P.J. Gialopsos' daughter answered the phone, and assured the customer the driver wasn't impaired and was instead autistic and has a speech impediment.

Gialopsos told the Alaska Dispatch News ( it wasn't the first time there's been complaints. But once they explain the driver has a disability, customers usually understand.

The driver returned to the restaurant upset after the encounter. It was at that point Gialopsos decided to terminate the relationship — with the customer. She instructed her staff to never again take an order from that person.

She followed that with a Facebook post Tuesday, which generated about 1,500 mostly positive comments within hours.