“I was a door greeter working on the inside, that was a lot better for my health”: Florence man with autism placed on leave

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FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – A popular Facebook post has led people to help a man with autism in Florence.

A GoFundMe page that shocked everyone in the community, Frank is more than an employee at Sam’s Club in Florence, he’s a face everyone recognizes at the front door.

“Greetings, how are you doing?” For many in the community, that phrase sounds familiar.

“I was a door greeter working on the inside of the elements, that was a lot better for my health,” said Frank Eason.

On May 25th, Eason celebrated his 20 year anniversary at Sam’s Club, but just two months later things took a turn. “They put me on leave without pay a couple months ago, in mid July,” said Eason.

Frank believes he was discriminated against because of his autism.

“It was a home away from home. I was the best employee of the entire club,” said Eason.

People in the community were outraged when they heard the news. The power of social media created community members to start a trending hashtag #BringBackFrank and a GoFundMe page that has raised thousands of dollars.

Eason tells News 13 Briana Fernandez he’s ready for one thing. “I’m more than eager to get to work. I’m ready to get back,” said Eason.

The account that was created by his aunt Myra Horton reads: “We are asking for help from the community that has loved and supported him his entire life.  A man who “turns you loose” at Sam’s and talks non-stop about sports, is in need. He is looking for a job and also health insurance.  He lives independently and is struggling to meet monthly expenses since Sam’s was his only source of income. Frank describes his laid off condition as “just wrong.” He said he knows that he was let go due to his autism and further said “I can’t help it that I am autistic.” He told us recently that he misses “his people”, not just his co-workers but the customers who enter Sam’s Club.”

Sam’s Club released a statement Friday afternoon saying:

“Our jobs are constantly evolving, and our goal is to always work closely with all associates as things change. Although some positions did change recently, Frank continues to have a role at Sam’s Club and we hope he’ll be back serving members soon. We appreciate him, and all our associates, for everything they do every day.”

Since the GoFundMe page, Frank has been offered dozens of jobs. Stay with WBTW on air and online as we continue to follow Frank’s journey.

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