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Jun 1, 2016 11:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Autistic Remsenburg Man Lands Job At New Best Yet Market

Christopher LeMaire works stocking shelves at the Best Yet in Westhampton Beach. BY AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jun 1, 2016 1:10 PM

With laser-like focus, 23-year-old Christopher LeMaire of Remsenburg meticulously places each container of flavored coffee creamer in its rightful place inside the refrigerator.In his third week of stocking shelves at the new Best Yet Market in Westhampton Beach, which opened its doors to the public last Wednesday, May 25, Mr. LeMaire has found a rhythm that allows him to keep the store’s shelves clean and tidy—French vanilla with other French vanillas, hazelnut with the hazelnuts.

The part-time job is Mr. LeMaire’s first since graduating from the special education program at Eastport South Manor High School two years ago. Explaining that he is non-verbal and autistic, Mr. LeMaire’s family is thrilled that the chain store has given him a chance to hold down a job, saying it is the perfect opportunity for him to join the workforce.

“He loves it,” his mother, Maria LeMaire, said this week. “He can’t wait to go out the door every morning and we are so excited that Best Market is able to give him the opportunity. For them to treat him like all of the other employees, embracing him—it is really refreshing.”

According to Ms. LeMaire, her son has a high functioning form of autism, which means that he has no problem understanding what is happening around him and is smart. He also has no behavioral problems, though some people—former students and teachers, for example—have had trouble interacting with him because he does not speak.

Because of his communication issues, Mr. LeMaire will always have an aide with him when he is working at the supermarket, where he spends most of his time cleaning and stocking shelves, and moving overstocked items between the storage area and the sales floor.

Representatives from Best Yet were not available for comment this week.

Mr. LeMaire has been applying for jobs since graduating from high school in 2014. He worked at another supermarket, at a similar job, while still in high school as part of a work-study program designed to give him experience. But after submitting application after application, he was having trouble landing a job post graduation, according to his family.

Then late last year his family heard that Best Yet would be opening in Westhampton Beach. Mr. LeMaire immediately submitted an application and, about a month ago, was called in for an interview and to fill out the required paperwork. He began working a few days later, before the store opened its doors, to help set up shop prior to last week’s grand opening.

Mr. LeMaire typically works from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. several days a week.

“He loves it, really loves it,” his mother said, noting that her son suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. “He is OCD about keeping things clean, so it speaks to him. This is really right up his alley.”

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By Craigcat (258), Speonk on Jun 1, 16 4:44 PM
I loved the store the moment I walked in, but now I love it even more!!! We need more businesses like this that give these children a chance.
By IvyRosen (1), New York, New York on Jun 1, 16 5:08 PM
I will support the store that gave this young man a chance!kudos to the enlightened managers. It's a pity that this is an exception rather than the rule but maybe others will follow
By Southfork Reno (1), Westhampton Beach on Jun 1, 16 5:45 PM
Thank you Best Yet for giving Richard this opportunity. I pray more business will help the handicapped.
By greeneyedlady (55), East Quogue on Jun 2, 16 8:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Best Yet is lucky to have Christopher...it is a hardworking, pleasant and a happy guy!
By eastendmom (11), Speonk on Jun 2, 16 7:36 PM
Best Yet is lucky to have Christopher...HE is a hardworking, pleasant and a happy guy!
By eastendmom (11), Speonk on Jun 2, 16 7:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
I love hearing/reading stories of ASD folks making their way through life and independence. Sometimes (most?) its very hard, but very uplifting to hear wonderful stories like these. Congratulations and best of luck!
By RobMitchell (1), on Jun 3, 16 8:14 AM
1 member liked this comment
Great story and news.
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Jun 5, 16 10:07 AM
1 member liked this comment