In an Albuquerque, New Mexico, restaurant called Tim’s Place, hugs are on the menu. Literally. Check out the menu, and you’ll learn you can actually order a Tim Hug. They are “Calorie Free, Guilt Free. Sweet, but not too sweet. Guaranteed to improve your lease on life!”
As of this writing, 26-year-old Tim Harris’s “Official Hug Count” is 19,341. Tim wants his customers to walk through the door and be embraced like family. He had dreamed of opening a restaurant since he was a young boy. His family worked with him to make it happen.
Now Tim is a successful restaurateur, even employing one of his three brothers. His parents could not be more proud.
Tim’s birth was a learning experience for them. They were not prepared for a son with Down’s Syndrome. But they did not waver from their determination to bring all four of their sons up to be independent, capable men.
They succeeded, and now Tim’s Place is living up to its promise to be a place where customers are “genuinely welcomed, connected with, touched, appreciated, and genuinely cared for.”
CBS reports that Tim’s father, Keith, provided the initial investment. Staff manage the restaurant, do the cooking, and serve customers. But it is Tim who greets customers and pours his warmth into every corner. He lives independently and makes his family very proud.
It is a winning combination – customers who are treated like family, employees who are considered a team and an entrepreneur who is committed to making the business the friendliest restaurant in Albuquerque. Oh, and good food besides.
There are still a lot of barriers for people with different abilities. Tim and his family are dismantling them, and this gives me hope.
Update March 1, 2013: Laila Isaak sent the link to this beautiful film from AOL: