An Asda store in Manchester, UK, has taken an incredible step to helping autistic and disabled shoppers as it introduces the first ever “quiet hour”.
During quiet hour, the store will shut down escalators, turn off in-store music and TV displays to offer those uncomfortable with a lot of noise a chance to shop in peace.
Disabled and autistic customers will also be given a map of the store with large pictures to help them navigate the superstore.
Simon Lea, manager of the Manchester branch, explained that he had the idea after a meeting with a customer: “This boy was kicking and screaming. His mom just looked drained. She told me he suffers from autism.”
Simon gave the boy a 50p voucher and a £1 football to calm him down and had the idea for an in-store quiet hour.
“The lad looked at me and he started playing with the football. His mom was the happiest I have ever seen anyone — just for giving him a football.”
After discussing the idea with colleagues and customers, Simon’s excited to host the first quiet hour at 8am on May 7th.
“It’s all about helping people really. Six months ago I would have said, ‘Control your child’, but speaking to people with autism and disabled people has helped me think about how I can make it a better place to shop.”
“There are a lot of people out there who have mental health issues. There are many people who don’t talk about it. We have a lot of disabled customers and we want to make the shop better for them.”