Sam is a Toronto teenager with his first job, working as a Starbucks barista. While that may sound fairly typical, what makes Sam unique is that he’s known not only for his coffee-making skills, but his dancing behind the counter.
Sam is an autistic person, with an attendant movement disorder that sometimes makes it hard for him to control his body. When his manager suggested dancing to help him on the job, the results were astonishing. Now “the dancing barista” has told his parents that for the first time, he feels like his life has meaning.
“People with autism do not want to be looked at with sympathy,” Sam said in a statement. “Please, please, please keep an open mind about what people with special needs can do.”
Watch some of Sam’s moves and learn more about his story here, then share it with your family:
- Sam’s story is definitely one of turning a challenge into a strength. Have you ever turned a challenge or “weakness” into a strength or opportunity, or known someone who has?
- While many people might have been hesitant to give Sam a job, the manager at Starbucks believed in him and worked to find a way to help him succeed. Who in your life has believed in you when others didn’t? How did they help you?
- What unusual talent or skill do you have that you might use to help you succeed in a tricky situation?
- Sam told his parents that because of his new job, his life “has meaning.” What are some things that make life meaningful for you?
- Have you ever been surprised by seeing someone succeed at a task that you didn’t believe they could do? What was it? Did you learn anything from that experience?