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Chili’s Server Saves the Day By Fixing Autistic Girl’s “Broken” Burger

In a majorly awesome move, a Chili’s server in Midvale, Utah pulled out all of the stops to help a young autistic girl “fix” her broken burger.

While having lunch with her older sister, 7-year-old Arianna Hill ordered a cheeseburger from Chili’s server Lauren Wells, however when Lauren brought the burger to Arianna, who happens to be autistic, the little girl got upset because it was “broken” — meaning, it had been cut in half. Arianna’s sister, Anna MacLean, 25, told, “Her [Arianna’s] verbal skills aren’t the best, but she can communicate basic things. I asked why she wasn’t eating and she said, ‘I don’t want it. It’s broken.’ She said, ‘I need a new one.’”

So Anna ordered a new burger from Lauren, fully expecting to pay for it. “Our waitress came back over and I felt bad. I don’t really expect people to understand these special requests, so I just told her to add a new burger to our bill. She said, ‘No way.’ She was just so sweet and played along with Arianna,” said Anna.

On top of not charging Anna for the second, unbroken burger, Lauren got the whole Chili’s gang from a manager to a line cook to come out and apologize to Arianna for the mishap. Anna said, “When she brought it [the burger] back out, Arianna said, ‘Oh, thank you! You brought me a fixed cheeseburger.’ She sat there and looked at it and said, ‘Oh I missed you,’ and kissed it over and over again.”

Anna was so touched by the event that she took a picture of Arianna kissing her burger and posted it on Facebook along with the back story. To date, the photo has gotten over 625,000 likes and more than 145,000 shares on Facebook — apparently good news is popular!

Considering the stories we’ve heard about families being asked to leave restaurants due to their special needs children, we’re feeling very warm and fuzzy towards the Chili’s chain right about now. And so is Anna who said, “I was so touched by this experience. I expected a few different things with this scenario based on past experiences, but I did NOT expect such kind and compassionate mannerisms,” said Anna.

It’s amazing how something so small like spending a few minutes fawning over a child can make such a huge difference. In a world filled with people with differences, it’s awesome to hear about a story like this, filled with tolerance and kindness — and let’s not forget, two very tasty cheeseburgers!


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03.28.2013 / 01:14 AM EDT by Jo Aaron
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