In the Te Rapa District of Hamilton, one of the world’s biggest dairy companies changed their work schedule for their number one fan, Andrew Oliver.
Andrew Oliver is one of the very few people who suffers from the extremely rare Fryns-Aftimos syndrome and is the only one in New Zealand with this condition. He is 35 years old but his mental age is that of a 6-year old child due to the genetic mutation of his chromosomes.
Andrew is a huge fan of Fonterra, a very popular dairy exporter. He’s so excited to see their milk tankers that he doesn’t go to bed until he sees them on the farm.
For 15 years, his evening routine has always been to eat dinner, take a shower and wait to greet the tanker drivers. Over the years, he has established a special bond with the Fonterra truck drivers. Every night, he would draw a picture to give to the tanker driver. The problem is, the milk tanker doesn’t arrive until the wee hours of the night. This means that Andrew wouldn’t be in bed on time because he waits every single night.
“[He] learned what it was, came out to see it occasionally and once in awhile would talk to a driver. But then with Andy, the normal thing is with something like this – it would become a habit. And so he had to be out to see the tanker. That became part of his nightly routine.” Ken Oliver, Andrew’s father shared with RNZ.
This was how it was for more than a decade until Ken’s wife suffered a stroke. Ken started having difficulty managing their sleep schedule, especially when he needs to get up at 5 in the morning to manage the dairy farm. That’s when he decided to reach out to Fonterra by calling their customer service.
“Surviving on three or four hours sleep, I’d just run out. I’d hit the wall and so I phoned the call center and actually started crying on the phone, I was just so shot,” Ken told RNZ. “I just said look, my life has just become impossible and just explained what was going on. I need sleep and I can’t get to sleep until this boy’s in bed.”
Upon learning about the family’s struggles, the company decided to adjust their entire milk tanker schedule to help Andrew get to bed on time. Instead of the usual late night arrivals, Ken can now do their pick up between 6:30 PM and 8 PM. The Oliver family was very thankful about the new schedule and it’s something they didn’t really expect. Ken never anticipated that a big company like Fonterra would do such a thing.
Sometimes, we never really realize how much the little things we do will have an impact on other people’s lives. We may not be as big of a company like Fonterra but there are many different ways we can spread kindness and create a positive impact on others.
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