WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Eight days into Autism Awareness month, the owners of a West Sacramento restaurant say their son on the autism spectrum was bullied while working.
The owners of Vince’s were waiting to take their son Giacomo, 23, home when a customer became upset with what she explained as unpredictable behavior.READ MORE: Sacramento County Tackles Zip Code Vaccine Disparities
The Rossi family has owned Vince’s for more than ten years and their son Giacomo helps out in the restaurant.
“This was our first time that we saw someone being so negative, so angry, so different about our child,” Jackie llenas-Rossi. said
On Wednesday, Giacomo was pouring water for customers, waiting to go home to watch his favorite television show, she said. That’s when Jackie said one of her customers complained about his behavior to the hostess.
“She started saying, ‘Hey, there was this man walking back and forth talking about Thomas.’ The hostess told her he’s the son of the owner, he’s special needs. But that was not enough,” she said.
The customer then reportedly complained to the waitress.
“She told her he’s special needs, he’s the owners’ kid a second time. That was still not enough,” Jackie said.
So she asked her son to say sorry.READ MORE: Feds' Boogaloo Indictment Details Inside of Northern California Extremist Group
“I said, ‘Giacomo, these people are uncomfortable can you apologize?’ And he apologized, ‘I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable,'” she said.
But Jackie said that still wasn’t enough. The customer took her complaints to Facebook and posted them on a discussion board.
“My first thought was he may be unpredictable or have explosive behavior around our small children,” the customer wrote.
The customer went on to warn future customers about Giacomo, writing: “If you are unfamiliar and see the owner’s son he may or may not be harmless. I still don’t know.”
“When people say things on the internet like that, it creates these stereotypes that are really harmful for these people who aren’t dangerous they’re just different,” said Giacomo’s sister.
She said she has never worried about her brother’s safety before and hopes she won’t have to ever again.
“This is the perfect example to shine light on how the autistic community wants people to not only become aware of autism but accepting of it. My brother feeling distressed my mother feeling stressed it wasn’t only a hit to our restaurant but to our family,” she said.MORE NEWS: Stockton Teen, 14, Shot While Driving Left Paralyzed
CBS13 did speak to the customer involved in this situation. She was not comfortable going on camera or participating in an interview.