High praise for waiter at Jamie Oliver’s Norwich restaurant as mum of autistic girl “overwhelmed by his kindness”

A King's Lynn mother has delivered high praise to Jamie's Italian restaurant in Norwich, after a waiter went 'above and beyond' to help her autistic daughter.

Steve Raven's message to Beth left in a Jamie Oliver cookbook he gave to her for free. Picture: Trud

Steve Raven's message to Beth left in a Jamie Oliver cookbook he gave to her for free. Picture: Trudy Akers - Credit: Archant

Trudy Akers and 15-year-old Beth visited Jamie's Italian in the city centre on Monday lunchtime and were faced with a familiar situation when she burst into tears, unable to decide what to order.

But waiter Steve Raven reassured Beth to take her time and proved a calming influence.

Trudy said: 'It was our first time at Jamie's and we were meeting friends who we hadn't seen for a while, so we didn't know what to expect.

'Steve was just amazing and we've never had anyone who was so kind and patient and he didn't put any pressure on any of us at any time.'

After ordering Beth said she wanted to make one of the dishes at home, so Steve brought over the Jamie Oliver book with the recipe.

He then asked Trudy what her daughter's name was and returned with the book, which he gave to them for free.

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Inside was written 'To Beth thank you for visiting our restaurant today, Love Steve.'

'He came back with it saying that Jamie couldn't be here today, but he asked me to give you this.'

'We were overwhelmed by his kindness and will never forget him.'

Trudy currently has to homeschool her daughter, as her autism and anxiety has made it impossible to attend mainstream school.

'Our family has to ensure that we explain where we are going and what we are doing as she finds choices and changes very difficult.

'But saying that we do not stop her doing anything as we like Beth to experience everything we do.

Her post on the Jamie Oliver Facebook page has now been liked 4,500 times:

I just felt I must write after a visit to your Norwich branch today which left me with a tear in my eye.

My daughter who is autistic had a hard time trying to make a decision at to what to choose from the super lunch menu.

After giving her order to the waiter she then burst into tears as she said she didn't know whether she wanted what she had ordered. However when the waiter who's name was Steve came back she got worse as she just couldn't decide. Steve told her to take her time and let him know when she was ready. After my daughter had left the table I told Steve that she was autistic and he said don't worry I will take your lead and you can let me know what and when you want anything I was so thankful that he was so understanding.

After my daughter returned she was able to make a choice and we ordered with Steve.

When Steve returned my daughter told him she was going to make Penne Ala Norma at home (as this is what I suggested to diffuse her decision making and further upset for her) Steve then said he would see if he could find her the recipe which was so kind. Steve then brought over the Jamie book with the recipe.

We handed the book back to Steve who asked what my daughter's name was I told him her name 5-10 minutes later he returned with the book saying 'thank you for visiting our restaurant today' love Steve.

This really touched me and my husband that someone we have never met before went above and beyond in his job to help our daughter feel comfortable we were overcome and I had tears in my eyes. Many thanks to Steve for his kindness, patience and making our daughter feel welcome to your restaurant in what was a bit of an emotional time for her.

I will be returning again as the service we received was excellent and I wish there were more Steve's about who didn't make our daughter or us feel we didn't belong.

Steve, who has worked at the restaurant since it opened in 2012, said: 'I was really humbled by what Trudy said about me and really pleased that someone had made such an effort to say such lovely things about myself and the restaurant.

'This young lady was very special and I could see that her parents were stressed.

'It's not just me. I'm lucky that she wrote to Jamie's so there's been a massive response, but my colleagues get these comments all the time.'

Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond at work? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk