While the parent group of Wendy eventually gave Dennis back his job, he decided instead to get retired and have a big party.
Getting fired sucks, but getting wrongfully fired from a job you actually liked? That is a special devastating feeling. And for Dennis Peek, with Down’s Syndrome, it was exactly like that. He had been working at Wendy’s in Stanley, North Carolina when he was fired after being an employee for 20 years. His sister Cona Young Turner was baffled at this development, per CNN. Dennis’ caretaker informed Turner of this development, which is when she went to the restaurant to speak to the manager, who said that she didn’t have proof of termination. Turner requested that the proof be faxed from corporate so she could understand why he was fired. After not receiving the papers or a call after many hours, Turner took to Facebook.
While Cona didn’t really want to take to Facebook like this, she expressed that she didn’t see another way to get justice, “It was very unfair to fire him; he would never understand why.” On Facebook, Turner wrote, “My brother Dennis has worked at Wendy’s in Stanley for over 20 years and I am heartbroken to say they have fired him!!!!!!!! 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!!!!!!!” Turner describes his work ethic as top-notch, adding, “All of Stanley knows Dennis. He’s lived in the town for 40 years,” further adding, “He doesn’t see bad in anyone. He loves people.”
A town is helping throw a retirement party for a Wendy's employee with Down syndrome who's now leaving the job on his own terms after he was fired https://t.co/SaBQDls7r4— CNN (@CNN) October 12, 2022
The restaurant chain came under fire for this move after the Facebook post went viral. Carolina Restaurant Group, the branch owner of Wendy’s apologized for this, and notified Turner that they weren’t aware of this termination, offering to rehire him the next morning. “We are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for our employees and our customers,” the company said in a statement, per WSOC-TV. “This was an unfortunate mistake and lapse in the protocol; we are in touch with the employee’s family, and we are looking forward to welcoming him back to work in the restaurant.”
52-year-old Dennis Peek was suddenly fired from Wendys after over 20 years, in what the location said was a "lapse in protocol." Now, his whole town is rallying around him, planning what's expected to be a huge celebration. https://t.co/t3ltlStBpq— WPSD Local 6 (@WPSDLocal6) October 12, 2022
However, Dennis’ family decided that he would instead retire. “It was very unfair to fire him; he would never understand why,” Turner said, adding that they plan to have a party on November 5th, 2022. The group also offered to fund a part of the retirement party hosted by Turner. However, they declined when the town of Stanley decided to sponsor the party at Harper Park. Dennis will be presented with a plaque for 20 years of his service and for brightening up the town.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Tug Deason will be organizing the event. “I saw the article and his sister wanting to have a retirement party so I reached out to offer help throwing Dennis a party. She gladly accepted and we’re honored and thrilled to be able to help him,” Deason said. Adding that, “The mayor is excited and honored to be able to celebrate Dennis.” Turner expresses how overwhelmed she is with the response. “I’m afraid because of Facebook I expect a huge turnout. A local woman in Stanley is making a huge cake. I have so many people offering to donate to his party,” she said.
Speaking of what’s next for Dennis, Turner notes that he will be spending more time in his pool goggles and writing in his journal. He asks to be kindly left alone as he does his homework. Next weekend, he will be heading to make apple butter up in the mountains of North Carolina, Turner said.
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Cona Young Turner