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Brightening Up Everyone’s Day

, , , | Working | June 14, 2017

(I and several others have started working as part of an office team, and our manager has been doing an induction. He is wearing a ridiculously bright furry jumper that is almost offensive to the eyes. We have all remarked on it in private, but not directly to him. One man in the group takes serious issue with it, criticising him heavily during our lunch break while he isn’t in the room. It has gotten to the end of the work day and induction.)

Manager: “…and that is pretty much it. Any questions?”

Man: “What’s with that jumper? Are you gay or something?”

Manager: *taken aback* “I am, actually, but that isn’t why I wear it.”

Man: “Okay, why then? I don’t want to have to work with THAT—” *pointing* “—assaulting me every day.”

Manager: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Our commercial manager has a daughter who is autistic, and sometimes she has to bring her in if she can’t find a carer. She responds well to bright colours. She doesn’t fuss as much, she’s more comfortable, and it makes her smile. So I have always tried to wear something bright on the off chance that she appears.”

Man: “It isn’t your responsibility to do that.”

Manager: “But it is. Sometimes life deals you a bad hand and you just have to handle it as best you can. I employed [Commercial Manager] because she’s good, and if wearing a silly bright jumper makes her want to stick around a little longer, then that is something I am willing to do.”

(I was actually moved to tears by this, as was everyone else. The man just grunted and since then made it clear he wasn’t interested in mingling with the rest of us. Thankfully he has an office that he doesn’t come out of often. I’ve also taken to wearing bright cardigans to work. They aren’t as bright as our manager’s, but the commercial manager’s daughter seems to appreciate it. It really brightens your day seeing her come in with a smile from ear to ear at you all in acid green.)

This story is part of our Autism roundup!

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