Hundreds show up to surprise party for Down’s syndrome employee

More than 100 people have turned up to a leaving party held in honour of a McDonald’s employee with Down’s syndrome – who worked for the major fast food chain for more than 32 years.

Freia David initially started working at Needham McDonald’s in Massachusetts, USA in 1984, after she landed the job through a community project that placed adults with disabilities in local jobs.

Anne-Marie Bajwa, chief operating officer for the Charles River Community Centre, said: “Freia is one of the first people that we placed in a job in the community.

“People with disabilities can be integrated in the community and learn new skills and learn new interests so that they can give back to the community”.

The much-loved woman fast became “a staple of the local community” and a familiar face to all local Needham residents.

Her childhood friend, Christopher Sheehan, wrote on Facebook: “She is one of the most beautiful and upbeat people you could ever hope to know”.

McDonald’s director of operations, Bob Broughton, added: “Her smiles, her enthusiasm and her daily hugs made our restaurant more than just a restaurant.

“It made us part of Freia’s family.

“We love you, we appreciate you, we respect you and we’re all better people for having you in our lives. Thank you Freia”.

A Needham local resident wrote: “McDonald’s will not be the same without Freia. She’s been a staple for so many years in our community.