Man With Down Syndrome Fired From His Job After 20 Years

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When you dedicate a lengthy part of your career and life to one workplace, you might expect to be rewarded. Be it praise from your boss, a physical gift, or a nice bonus, receiving recognition for your loyalty can help you feel valued at your job.

So, imagine one man’s surprise when after 20 years working at a specific Wendy’s location, he not only went unrewarded but was flat-out fired. After hearing the news, his sister posted on social media to raise awareness on his behalf.

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Dennis Peek Is A 52-Year-Old Man With Down Syndrome

For the past 20 years, Dennis Peek had been working at a Wendy’s location outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. He loved going to work every day, and even after working there for decades, he still called it his dream job.

Dennis Peek sitting at a table, smiling, wearing a white sweater and black baseball cap.
Facebook / Cona Young Turner
Facebook / Cona Young Turner

Dennis had proven himself to be a hard worker and never complained when it came time to clock in. This is why it came as such a surprise to him and his family when he was let go.

His Sister Took To Social Media

Cona Turner, Dennis’ sister, was absolutely devastated when she heard the news, and posted about the ordeal on Facebook.

A Wendy's location during the day.
Pixabay / michaelform
Pixabay / michaelform

“My brother Dennis has worked at Wendy’s in Stanley for over 20 years and I am [heartbroken] to say they have fired him!” she wrote, “His dream was to retire from there [someday] and he was looking forward to a huge retirement party, we may just give him that party and tell him he has retired because he does not understand being fired!”

She Looked Into Why Exactly He Got Fired

The reason behind the firing makes the story all the more heartbreaking, as she explained, “They told me was unable to perform the duties of a normal [person’s] job!”

Dennis Peek sitting in the passenger seat of a truck.
Facebook / Cona Young Turner
Facebook / Cona Young Turner

Cora wasn’t satisfied with this answer, so she promised to look into her state’s labor laws regarding disabled people. “I am also looking into a wrongful termination of a special needs employee. Wish me luck! I am very disappointed with the management at Wendy’s in Stanley, they have no idea how they hurt my brother!”

Her Post Went Viral

Almost 6000 comments’ worth of people advocated for Dennis, asking Wendy’s why they would fire him, telling them it was unjust, and demanding Dennis be given his job back.

Dennis Peek in a yellow t-shirt on a boat, cheering.
Facebook / Cona Young Turner
Facebook / Cona Young Turner

Seeing that many people fight for him must have been so, so heartwarming. Not only did it show that he had the support of people worldwide, but it also reaffirmed that neither Cona nor Dennis was wrong to fight back against this cruel and unjust firing.

Wendy’s Finally Responded

The fast food restaurant reached out to TODAY with an official statement, assuring readers that whatever happened that led to Dennis being fired must have been an error.

A Wendy's wrap, serving of fries, and fountain drink on a tray.
Facebook / Wendy’s
Facebook / Wendy’s

“We are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our employees and customers,” they said, “This was a very unfortunate mistake and lapse in protocol […].”

It was clearly a mistake the company as a whole regretted as they received a lot of pushback, but took multiple steps to make up for it.

Starting With Offering Dennis His Job Back

Not long after the statement was released, Wendy’s reached out to Cona and said they’d gladly hire Dennis back. Cona updated her initial post to explain their offer and thank everyone for fighting for her brother.

Dennis Peek in a Ghostbusters jumpsuit.
Facebook / Cona Young Turner
Facebook / Cona Young Turner

“Update, they have offered Dennis his job back starting next week. My heart is overwhelmed by the support that you all have given my brother and myself! Thank you all so much!”

Comments posted after this update were all congratulating the two, and thanking Cona for calling Wendy’s out.

However, What Happened Next Shocked Everyone Involved

Dennis decided to retire!

Dennis Peek in a pink t-shirt, his hand on a balcony railing.
Facebook / Cona Young Turner
Facebook / Cona Young Turner

In a second update to her post, Cona shared that her brother had chosen not to return to his position at Wendy’s and instead take his retirement.

As promised, that party was still going down. “He will be having his BIG RETIREMENT party that he has been wanting,” Cona wrote. Wendy’s seemed dedicated to doing right by Dennis, as Cona also added, “Wendy’s has offered to help with expenses and anything else they can for his special day.”

What Started As An Unjust Firing Wound Up Working Out Perfectly

Not only did Wendy’s reconcile with Dennis and his family, but this break from work gave Dennis the space he needed to think about what he wanted going forward, and let him realize it was his time to retire!

A Wendy's location at night.
Unsplash / Batu Gezer
Unsplash / Batu Gezer

Don’t worry, though, Wendy’s is already prepared should Dennis decide he wants to go back to work after all. Included in their statement they said, “Should Dennis […] ever want to work again, we’ll also be happy to welcome him back.”

The Power Of Community

Dennis had an unbelievably supportive community that stepped up to the plate to make sure the wrongdoings made against him were corrected. His family, his friends, and even strangers who saw the error in his manager’s ways all banded together to bring him justice.

People in a variety of colored sweaters all putting their hands together.
Unsplash / Hannah Busing
Unsplash / Hannah Busing

However, the ultimate power laid within Dennis himself to ultimately leave his job and start a new chapter in his life. Having people you can trust is important, but trusting yourself is the most important element to any major life change.

Dennis found his life purpose, are you still searching for yours? You won’t believe what the science of Numerology can reveal about you!

That’s right, the numerology of your birth date, regardless of what month you were born, can reveal surprising information about your personality.

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]