When lunchtime rolls around, a familiar and friendly face is often popping in and out of Northgate Mall. But Donald Wood isn’t window shopping, he’s taking lunch orders for Applebee’s.
“Don hates to miss work, no matter what the circumstance is. He is incredibly responsible, dependable, and is very dedicated to his job,” said Mark Pucci, a home aid from Southwest Home Healthcare who has been assisting Wood with his job for the past four months. “Being with Don is just like hanging out with a close friend. He is a lot of fun to be around.”
For the past 13 years, Wood has been a huge asset to the Applebee’s team at Northgate Mall. Three times a week, he goes throughout the mall taking orders from store employees who want Applebee’s for lunch. He even has “regulars” at the mall who look forward to ordering from him.
Terry Ferguson, a job coach at Easter Seals, has worked with Wood for the past five years. “Don really loves his job,” she said. “His managers and employees have spoken numerous times of how they really enjoy working with Don”.
Wood, who does not speak, uses a communication device to interact with his customers and fellow employees. “Would you like to order from Applebee’s today?” is programmed on his device which makes it easy to take orders from his customers.
Wood said his favorite part of his job is the people he works with, especially when they are all joking around and having fun. He is also grateful for the kindness of his managers, who he says have treated him well during the past 13 years.
“It is such a pleasure to come and see Don while he is at work,” said Ferguson. “What I admire the most about Don is his personality and contagious sense of humor. He really makes the best out of his situation.”