Restaurant boss hires those no one will
THE kind-hearted boss who hired a man covered with tumours as a dishwasher at her restaurant also hired an overweight chef and an 81-year-old woman who needs a walking aid.
The female owner, who still declined to be named, told Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao in a report yesterday: "As long as they are willing to work, I will arrange a job for them within their means."
The New Paper reported on Sunday about the plight of Jimmy Wee, who suffers from a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis that left him with thousands of benign tumours.
He had trouble finding a job until he met his current boss, who stood by him when a customer asked her to fire him over health concerns.
The report generated buzz online, with Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin sharing it on his Facebook page on Monday.
He wrote: "The good. The bad. And the inspirational. Choose who you want to be."
Wanbao tracked down the restaurant and discovered that other than Mr Wee, the owner had also taken under her wing some people whom others might be hesitant to hire.
One of them was 27-year-old chef Lu Weiqiang, who weighs 156kg.
Mr Lu has 11 years of culinary experience but said he had difficulty getting a job due to his weight.
"Most zi char kitchens can't 'fit me in'. I was once rejected nine times; they all asked me to go home and wait for a call after interviews," he said.
Mr Lu, who spent seven months searching for work, was recommended the job by a friend and has worked at the restaurant for 15 months now.
At first, he was worried that he was blocking the way in the kitchen because of his size. When his boss learnt about it, she shifted the cabinets to give him more room to move about.
He works alongside his 81-year-old colleague Cai Huomei, who helps to prepare vegetables. Fitted with a pacemaker, she also has to take time off work to go for frequent check-ups as she had surgery on her left leg.
"My boss has never said no to my requests to visit the doctor," said Madam Cai, who had gone almost 20 years without a job before landing this one two years ago. Her boss approached her after noticing the elderly woman sitting at a hawker centre all day "doing nothing".
Madam Cai, who uses an umbrella as a walking stick, said it felt good to be able to support herself at this age.
Her boss said she did not mind that older employees were slower and would not discriminate based on one's appearance.
She had once hired a kitchen assistant with low IQ, who left after five years to run his own eatery.
Her employees said working at the restaurant is like being part of a big family.
Said Madam Cai: "My colleagues call me 'ah ma'. They ask me what I want to eat daily and even cook for me."
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