Disabled student named honorary staff member at Sheffield burger restaurant

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When student Jono Handley walked into a Sheffield restaurant 18 months ago the staff immediately warmed to him.

His weekly visits to the Handmade Burger Co at Valley Centertainment have continued to put a smile of the face of team leader Dan Evans.

Dan Evans (l) and Steve Smith, of the Handmade Burger Co, at Centertainment hands Jonathan Handley a specially made workers shirt for his birthday after being made an honorary member of the Handmade Burger Co. Picture: Andrew Roe

Dan Evans (l) and Steve Smith, of the Handmade Burger Co, at Centertainment hands Jonathan Handley a specially made workers shirt for his birthday after being made an honorary member of the Handmade Burger Co. Picture: Andrew Roe

When Dan discovered Jono, who has Down’s syndrome, really wanted to work there he went beyond the call of duty to make his dream come true.

Dan, who has worked for the company for 18 months, said: “He is so chatty and down to earth. He always has a smile on his face.

“He comes in with his carer most Tuesdays and one day I started chatting with them.

“About a year ago I had been promoted and his carer told me that he’d love a job here.

“She said it was really hard for him to find work due to cuts in Government funding.

“I had a think about what I could do.

“I got him a shirt and gave it him and said you’re coming to work.

“He took his own food out and the table next got in on the act too and asked him to refill their drinks.”

Since then Jono, of Aston, near Rotherham, has been continuing to visit, spending time in the kitchen making his own burger, helping to serve and clearing his plate away.

Dan added: “Everyone knows him.

“As soon as he comes in he asks ‘where is the boss?’ meaning me.

“Sometimes his own food is on the table and we tell him to sit down, but he still wants to help out.”

The Rotherham College of Arts and Technology student has become such a familiar face that staff wanted to make his 23rd birthday extra special.

They made him an honorary member of the team, presenting him with his own completed training pack, uniform and certificate.

Jono was overwhelmed when he was presented with his gifts in front of his family and friends.

“I love coming here. Everyone is so friendly especially ‘the boss’.

“The burgers are so tasty. I’ve worked my way down the menu. My favourite are the stuffed burgers.”

His carer Wendy Moran added: “I cannot tell you how good the staff are to him and how they’ve made him feel.

“They are fantastic and it’s lovely what they have done for him.”