On Wednesday night when I was watching the fireworks on TV, I saw the owner of @beauscoffee talking about the American Spirit. If you are not familiar with them, they are a coffee shop located in Wilmington, NC and Charleston, SC. However, they are not just any coffee shop. Bitty and Beau’s Coffee shop is run by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I wrote several weeks ago about my niece Courtney and others in my family that have Down’s Syndrome. If you have never experienced a Down’s Syndrome child, then you are missing out. Not only are they the most loving, funny and special people on the planet, but they will melt your heart each and every time that you see them. Now, imagine having that warmth and compassion greet you every time you walk into a place of business.
I am always amazed by people who have the foresight to treat developmentally and intellectual challenged individuals as they should be treated. They incorporate them into every day work situations where they are able to thrive, prosper and share their unique way of making someone’s day with just a smile and most often a hug. Rather than treat them as different, they are treated as equals and as a result are able to live the full life potential that they should be afforded.
There was a time where people with disabilities were treated as pariahs and outcasts and placed in homes to live out their life because people just didn’t understand them or know how to deal with them. Fortunately, society has changed and we are now understanding while they may be different in action, in reality they are just like us. In fact, they often show more compassion, kindness and love than we will ever be capable of.
I am sure there are other businesses out there like Bitty and Beaus and our heart and thanks should go out to each and every one of them. If there were a place in my area like that, it would be my first choice to patronize. If I won the lottery, it would be the first business I would open. So here is to all the organizations that believe that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities should be treated as human beings and afforded all life’s opportunities that they deserve. If you live near one of these wonderful businesses, patronize them. Visit and experience for yourself something that is magical.
Have a great weekend and remember to be the reason someone smiles.
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