By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

GLENVIEW, Ill. (CBS) — A beloved Jewel-Osco worker with special needs says he was unfairly fired from his job in Glenview, and more than 12,000 people have signed an online petition trying to get the man’s job back. Even a state lawmaker is getting involved.

A number of viewers have reached out to CBS 2 with only good things to say about Khaled Alayli.

“When we saw the story on Monday it was like, wow, it was so out of character for him when you see the headline. He’s never done anything remotely like that, so a lot of us in the community got very concerned because again we’ve never seen this from him,” said State Rep. Jonathan Carroll.

On Monday Alayli told CBS 2 about the incident that led to his firing. He said a man bullied him for months, calling him the “R” word and other derogatory terms.

“And then he’s yelling at me again,” Alayli said. “I said, ‘Leave me alone. No matter what you have to wear a mask in our store.’ And he said, ‘No, I don’t have to. I’m an anti-mask wearer.’ He yelled at me. He caught me on video.”

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Carroll said he immediately wanted to find out more, so he spoke with Alayli and his brother. He then went to work to get answers from Alayli’s union, including what they believe happened and how the process of Alayli’s firing was handled.

“I connected with his union and talked with them about this, and they’re aware of it,” Carroll said. “I guess there has been some paperwork filed, which they are looking into.”

He also wants Jewel to offer Alayli his job back and reiterated how much the community appreciates and cares about him.

“Again he is the guy that’s getting food on our table during the pandemic,” he said. “While we’re all trying to do all these things he’s on the front lines. We have to show our frontline workers how much we care.”

Alayli said Wednesday that Jewel had yet to reach out to offer him his job back, but he did have an interview at another local business and his hopeful it worked out.