STORYFUL - Carly Fleischmann is a Toronto-based autism advocate who was diagnosed with severe autism when she was two years old. She has learned to communicate effectively thanks to years of therapy.
She writes about her experience on her Facebook page, which has over 180,000 likes. A video she shared there on January 22 showing a teenage Starbucks barista with autism has gone viral, with one version of it attracting 47 million views on Facebook.
The video shows the barista, Sam, preparing a drink and dancing as he does so. His manager, Chris, is off to the side, watching and occasionally dancing as well. Fleischmann writes that Sam’s autism prevents him from staying still, and that he thought he would never be able to keep the job because of his sudden movements. Chris, however, helped Sam channel his movements into dance. “Sam is now known as the dancing barista. If it wasn’t for Chris believing in Sam he would of [sic] never believed in himself,” Fleischmann writes.
Many people have been touched by the video and have shared in the comments their own stories of family members with autism finding work, a handful of them at various Starbucks stores. One wrote, “One of the Starbuck [sic] in Dallas Texas area hired my niece who is autistic but has other issues as well…Starbucks gave my niece a new beginning in the work world and she loves it.” Another wrote, “My niece has Aspergers [sic] and also some other issues. Starbucks hired her!! She loves it.”
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