Like most other people in Italy right now, GianNicola Blasi of Caserta, Italy, is staying home these days. He is hopeful that he will get back to work at Sasa’ Martucci I Masanielli Pizzeria, where he is a full-time waiter and star employee. GianNicola has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that leads to intellectual disabilities. He has worked full-time at the pizza parlor for the past year and has never been happier.
“I hired him because people need a chance to be productive, and if you support them in the right way, they will succeed,” said owner Mr. Salvatore Martucci.
Before COVID-19 shut down his pizza parlor, Mr. Martucci described GianNicola Blasi as his star employee. “He’s diligent, attentive to everyone, loved by all customers and a master of the dining room. He’s a true leader.”
Before working for Mr. Martucci, GianNicola Blasi graduated from a food and hospitality vocational high school. After school, he had found several part-time jobs, but no one would hire him full-time. That’s when Mr. Martucci stepped in. GianNicola had known Mr. Martucci for a while, and asked
him for a full-time job. Mr. Martucci took a chance and hired him. “It worked out way better than I ever could have imagined,” said Mr. Martucci.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, GianNicola spends his time at home watching his favorite movies, shows and comedians, and is eager to get back into the restaurant. Mr. Martucci calls GianNicola often and checks in with him. Meanwhile, Mr. Martucci never completely shut down his shop, but has prepared seventy meals a day, and donated to an organization that cares for people with disabilities.
When asked about work, GianNicola Blasi says he misses the customers. “They treat me well and want to take pictures with me.”
GianNicola has future plans of his own and is saving his money in hopes of opening his own pizzeria one day with the help of his family. We look forward to covering the next chapter in GianNicola’s story.