A Thank you Note
To Scott the Manager of Great Northern Pizza here in town:
Thank you for opening your mind and your heart, for giving Jared his first job, with a schedule and a paycheck, and for understanding that he needs to start slowly, just one day a week and just an hour or two for now, but to look at Jared's face, you would think the world had been laid at his feet. I think it has been. This is a milestone, another step toward independence. And when we go to your restaurant to fill out the forms, those "I have a new job" papers, Jared may not understand W2 or dependents (who ever does?), but he will know that he is valued and that some place needed him enough to pay him. I don't know if you understand how big this is, how important this step is for my son with Down Syndrome. I am aware that places exist in our world that are still wary of taking risks, of gambling with their business by creating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities, but you are not afraid, and for that, I am grateful. Scott, you and your business are modeling for our community what inclusion really means, not just paying lip service to the concept of acceptance, but really doing it. Sometimes it is more difficult to find a fit for individuals who need extra help, who may not learn things as efficiently as those around them. Thank you for finding a place for our son. Jared will work hard. You see, his spirit is filled when he is needed; his confidence will soar when he is accepted as an employee, as one of the crew, not just as a young man with Down Syndrome. And sometimes when he falters or stumbles, I will be there, hiding out in the mall behind your restaurant, reading my book, half waiting for a call from you, but also hoping it doesn't come.