'We Won The Lottery Twice': Couple With Two Sunny Kids Open A Cafe To Employ People With Disabilities
December 12, 2018 19:29 By Fabiosa
The world we live in today is very diverse. Every day, simply going out on the street, we can meet a lot of different people, each having their own life story. Some of them are the stories of success, but there are also those of failures. But no matter your previous experience, culture, religion, physical state, or whatever else, there is always a chance for anyone to get the best of this life.
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From this kind of stories like the one of the Wright family from Wilmington, North Carolina, we learn that disability does not prevent you from living a life full of joy and making a meaningful contribution to the society.
Amy and Ben Wright and their beautiful children
Amy and Ben Wright already had two children when Amy got pregnant with their third in 2004. Doctors ran a few tests and told the couple that the child might be born with Down syndrome. When Wrights’ son was born, doctors confirmed their initial diagnosis. The family was scared at first because they did not know much about the syndrome and had no idea how it will affect their son’s life.
14 years later, the Wrights are a happy family of six - they also have a daughter Bitty who has Down syndrome, too. They have learned a lot about bringing up special children, and now they know that there is a reason why kids with this syndrome are called ‘sunny’.
The couple has had their fair share of difficulties. Finding information about the syndrome, a school that would accept their son and daughter, and parents who had children with the same diagnosis was not easy. But despite all the struggles and their fears, Amy and Ben soon realized being parents of sunny children is a sheer joy - they are so full of love, and there is no evil in them. In an interview with Daily Mail, Amy confessed:
We won the lottery twice. Once you know what Down syndrome is, once you have spent time with somebody that has it, you cannot help but want to be around more people that have Down syndrome.
How Bitty and Beau inspired their parents
Beau and Bitty are growing up so fast, and that made Amy and Ben think about their future as adults. What worried them most is the sad statistics that 85 per cent of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in the United States are unemployed. So, the couple came up with an idea to open a café staffed exclusively with intellectually and developmentally disabled employees.
Amy and Ben were pleasantly surprised by the support they received from the public and TV personality Rachel Ray. Because of all the attention the place was getting on social media, there were soon long lines, with people standing even outside the café.
The Wrights decided to expand their business to a bigger location, 40 staff members, as well as giving the café a new name: Bitty & Beau's. For many people who work at Bitty & Beau’s, this job is their first one, and they are extremely happy to have it.
For example, Matt Dean, aged 28, is now the Director of First Impressions at the café, and is autistic. Although it is not his first job, it is the first workplace that allows him to communicate with customers. Amy and Ben say that he has excellent people skills. In his turn, Dean says:
In previous jobs, I had no one my age to work with, and no one to chat with, and no customer service experience. Here, I have all that and a bag of chips… I wouldn't change it for the world.
CNN Hero of the Year Award
The Wrights are so happy and proud of what they have managed to achieve. They provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to have a different life and feel needed and respected. Amy said:
The people who work here are celebrities. The staff has a sense of respect they have never had in their lives.
And for being a good mom to two beautiful kids with Down syndrome, and giving other sunny people a chance to live normal lives as any other member of society, Amy Wright was honored with the Hero of the Year award from CNN in 2017.
The difference the Wright family makes to people with disabilities is simply enormous. They teach us not to detach from those who are a bit different and give them a helping hand because:
When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. - Maya Angelou