When Arianna Hill wouldn’t eat her cheeseburger because it was cut in half, the Chili’s server has an inspiring response.

A local Chili’s restaurant in Midvale, Utah served up kindness when they replaced an autistic girl’s “broken” cheeseburger with a “fixed” one.

How One Restaurant Went Above and Beyond for a Customer

burger with fries
Photo by Engin Akyurt

Anna MacLean, 25, took her sister, Arianna Hill, out for lunch. Everything was going well, and she wasn’t too overstimulated. She was so excited that before the pair were even able to put their drink orders in, the seven-year-old told the waitress, “I’ll have my cheeseburger.”

When Arianna’s burger arrived at the table, MacLean noticed that Hill wasn’t eating because the cheeseburger was cut in half, something the restaurant does automatically for children.

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“I asked why she wasn’t eating and she said, ‘I don’t want it. It’s broken. I need one that’s fixed.'”

Not expecting people to understand these special requests, MacLean asked the waitress to bring a new burger and charge them for it. But the server, Lauren Wells, said, “No way.”

Instead, she leaned down to personally apologize for the broken burger and assured Arianna she would bring her a brand new fixed one.

“She was just so sweet and played along with Arianna,” MacLean told ABC News.

The manager and the even line cooks got involved.

“When she brought it back out, Arianna said, ‘Oh, thank you! You brought me a fixed cheeseburger.’ She sat there and looked at it and said, ‘Oh I missed you,’ and kissed it over and over again.” MacLean said.

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MacLean was so touched by the staff’s compassion and understanding that she snapped a photo of Arianna giving the cheeseburger a kiss and posted it to Facebook with a brief description of how well the restaurant handled the situation.

The “broken cheeseburger” photo went viral.

How a Restaurant’s Compassion Made a Little Girl Happy

Harrison Dixson, Chili’s general manager, said he has gotten calls from people all across the country, including the president of Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization, thanking him for the way his manager, Brad Cattermole, and server, Lauren Wells, interacted with Arianna.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of those two. I’ve been with this company for 13 years and I’ve never been as proud as I am today,” Dixson said to ABC News.

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A simple restaurant outing turned into something bigger than MacLean could ever have imagined. “The comments on the post just bring awareness to people,” she said. “This is Arianna’s story. And this is Lauren’s story, and the manager. They are a true inspiration.”

A child with autism has to have certain things in a particular order at all times and one change in their routine can change the course of the day instantly. Unfortunately, not everyone is understanding of, and patient with, these special needs. But this restaurant happily replaced the “broken” burger and the post about their compassion is creating awareness. 


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