Disability – it’s a word many of us throw around without a second thought. While there are certainly occasions when it is purposefully used in a negative way, others are simply not aware of the baggage that comes along with the word. For too long, the umbrella term has been used to categorize individuals as “lacking;” whether that be in reference to “normal” health, physicality or mental ability. Today, however, a new awareness is growing. Those who are differently-abled have a lot to offer, and we’ve been missing out for a long time.
Take Tim Harris, for example. His father says that when he first learned his son had Down Syndrome, “the world turned black.” While he was focused on the many challenges Tim would face in life, he soon realized his son was so much more than that. In high school, Tim was homecoming King and Student of the Year, and he went on to graduate from college and compete in the Special Olympics. He’s also an accomplished sailor, offshore fisherman and, best of all, a beloved restaurant owner.
In fact, Tim made history in 2010 when he became the first person in the world with Down Syndrome to own a restaurant. His special? A hug, which the menu describes as “guilt-free and calorie-free.” As Tim says himself, “I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends.” Tim’s business plan has thrived, but today, he is shutting his doors. For his staff and regulars, it’s sad news, but just wait until you hear his reason. Tim’s story is about to get even better.
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