Independent, an online publication, covers the story of Shun Condon, a 54-year-old man with autism as he prepares to retire from a job many said he “wouldn’t last” at.
Condon spent nearly three decades working as a cleaner for the Newport Transport, tending to the cleanliness and presentation of bus stations across Newport. Looking back on his time employed by the company, Mr. Condon expressed a combination of reflection and optimism when he spoke with South Wales Argus, a news outlet in Wales.
“I’m going to miss the people,” Condon said. But he is looking forward to retirement, saying: “I’m looking forward to spending time with my mum.”
Daphne Condon, his mother, contacted South Wales Argus back in 1991, three years after Shaun started work. The story was to raise awareness of opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities to find and prosper through work. Now on the cusp of her son’s next chapter of his life, Ms. Condon has reached out to the paper once again to bring the story full circle. Current editor and former health reporter Nicole Gamon was thrilled to bookend Shaun’s story twenty-eight years later.
“It was ‘fantastic,’ Ms. Condon had got in touch again to tell the newspaper about her son’s approaching retirement,” Gamon told Independent.
“Shaun is just like you and me and the only difference is that he has autism,” Ms. Condon told the Independent. “People said that Shaun wouldn’t last one month in his job and now he’s retiring after 28 years. Shaun was lucky in getting a job but I know others aren’t.”
She hopes Shaun’s story will tackle the stigma on people with disabilities. Shaun’s story brings to light the importance of neurodiversity in the workplace. Where one employer might easily see employees with disabilities as a liability, other employers can see the hiring of these men and women as an opportunity to gain multiple perspectives on how work can be accomplished.
The original story, published in Independent, can be found at the following link here.