Wendy’s Fires Man With Down Syndrome After Working at Store for 20 Years

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 13, 2022   |   11:59AM   |   Stanley, North Carolina

Dennis Peek has been a favorite face at the local Wendy’s in Stanley, North Carolina for more than 20 years.

Peek, 52, who has Down syndrome, enjoyed greeting people while he cleaned tables, took out the trash and restocked condiments, his sister, Cona Young Turner, told CNN.

“All of Stanley knows Dennis. He’s lived in the town for 40 years,” she said.

Now, her brother is retiring – and Americans across the country are sending their congratulations.

It’s a happy ending for Peek after he was mistakenly fired from his job earlier this month, according to the report.

Last week, Turner expressed her disappointment on Facebook after she tried and failed to get answers from the restaurant about why her brother was fired.

“He’s always excited to go to work,” Turner told WBTV. “He loves seeing people come in and speak to him. He loves to interact with the people.”

She said her brother did not understand why he could not go back to work and it broke her heart. Speaking with CNN, Turner said she wished the local manager had contacted her to discuss the matter instead of just firing her brother.

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“If there was any issue with his performance, then Wendy’s should have informed me and we would give him his retirement party sooner, which would have been a smooth transition,” she said.

Her post went viral, and the franchise that owns the local Wendy’s, the Carolina Restaurant Group, quickly apologized and offered Peek his job back.

“We are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our employees and our customers,” the franchise responded. “This was an unfortunate mistake and lapse in protocol; we are in touch with the employee’s family, and we are looking forward to welcoming him back to work in the restaurant.”

The franchise said it did not know that Peek had been fired and learned about the issue from Turner’s Facebook post.

This week, Turner said they decided that it’s time for her brother to retire, and they plan to throw him a big retirement party in the town. The Carolina Restaurant Group even offered to help pay for it, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, Turner said congratulations and well wishes are pouring in from all over the country for her brother as a result of her viral post.

“All the comments and support for my brother…it just melted my heart,” she said.

Asked why he enjoyed working at Wendy’s, Peek told WBTV: “A lot of food to eat. It’s good stuff. I love Baconator. I love my job at Wendy’s.”