Chili’s Server Fixes a ‘Broken Cheeseburger’ for a Girl With Autism

chilis autism cheeseburger

Anna “explained that Arianna has autism, and that in her mind, because the cheeseburger was cut in half, she thinks its broken and can’t eat it. I told Lauren I knew it sounded silly, but if we could just order an additional one we will gladly pay for it because there was nothing wrong with the one that was originally brought out.”

The Chili’s server had a solution to fix the ‘broken cheeseburger’ for her customer with autism.

“Lauren was so sweet and just smiled and went along with Arianna, telling her ‘I brought you a broken cheeseburger?! You know what, I’ll have them cook you a new one!'”

This response surprised Anna and her husband. Lauren could have simply taken the “broken cheeseburger” from the table, but she didn’t. It appeared that Lauren had a deeper understanding of the situation and wanted to not only provide great service—but in a way that mattered to Arianna.

“I loved this because rather than just taking it from the table, she actually TOLD Arianna what she was doing. While this seems insignificant, by her telling Arianna what she was doing, we avoided a melt down,” explains Anna.

It didn’t stop there. Other Chili’s staff intentionally made it right with Arianna, who struggled with autism.

Managers at Chili’s often walk through the restaurant and check on customers at their tables.

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“The manager, Bradley Cottermole, then came to our table, kneeled down, and said to Arianna, ‘I heard we gave you a broken cheeseburger! I am so sorry about that! We are making you a brand new one that isn’t broken, with pickles! I’ll bring you some french fries to munch on while you’re waiting, ok?'”

It wasn’t long before Lauren was back at Arianna’s table to give her the new cheeseburger—complete with pickles.

“Arianna said, ‘OH FANK YOU! You fixded my cheeseburger!'”

Anna watched Arianna as she gazed at the cheeseburger. Anna shared, “When Lauren walked away, Arianna just sat there for a second and looked at her new burger. She looked like so deep in thought….just staring at it….then she let out a big ‘OH I missed you!!’ and started kissing the burger over and over again.”

Anna continued to reflect on the customer service and immense kindness that the entire staff at Chili’s showed that day.

“I showed Lauren this picture and said, “I think we glorified the cheeseburger too much!” She busted up laughing, and asked if she could go show her manager. She came back a minute later and said she showed everyone in the back kitchen area too, and that it made them all laugh and smile. I was so touched by this experience. Especially since I know people who have been asked to leave restaurants when their child with autism is being disruptive. I expected a few different things with this scenario based on past experiences, but I did NOT expect such kind and compassionate mannerisms from Lauren and Bradley. Everyone, from the hostess to the chef, played a role in what most people would think isn’t a big deal. But this entirely shaped how the rest of our day would go. I know…a cheeseburger cut in half literally could make or break our day. In this case thanks to the professionalism of the crew in Midvale, it made our day. And I’m sure Arianna brightened up at least one of the employees days.”

You can read Anna’s full Facebook post here:

Janna Firestone
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Janna lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two teenage boys. You’ll often find her hiking, paddleboarding, or enjoying a good board game indoors. She's an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan, and an even bigger fan of coffee, dry shampoo, and authentic conversations.