Viral Video Shows Teen With Autism As Starbucks' 'Dancing Barista'

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via YouTube

After finding a way to incorporate his movements into a dance, this teen with autism found himself doing a cool new job.

A teen boy working at Starbucks is the subject of a truly heart-warming viral video. He’s on the autism spectrum and while he thought he might never be able to work behind the counter due to difficulty keeping his body still, his very kind and patient manager had other ideas.

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The video went viral after being posted on the Facebook page of Carly Fleischman, a teen with autism who advocates for others with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It highlights Sam, who along with being diagnosed autistic, also has a movement disorder as is common among those on the spectrum. Because of it, he has trouble being still, which as you can imagine, might pose a problem for someone serving hot beverages.

According to Fleischman’s post, rather than write Sam off as a possible barista, his manager Chris spent hours working with him to channel his movements into a sort of dance routine he can do as he prepares drinks.

This video is everything a viral video should be. It’s heart-warming, educational and totally restores our faith in humanity. Watching Sam meticulously prepare the drink under the watchful eye of his manager, you see the warm connection between the two. Chris looks so proud and even bops along with the teen, probably making Sam feel less like he stands out. If this video doesn’t make you smile until your face hurts, we’re not sure what else will. Sam’s joy and pride in himself is positively infectious.

While watching it, you might think how easily Chris could have decided that Sam shouldn’t be performing those tasks because it would take awhile to figure out how to make it work. As Fleischman notes, the duo spent hours and several shifts to get the moves to Sam’s dance just right. This story is amazing because not only does it show Sam’s admirable perseverance, it highlights what a wonderful person his manager is. To see beyond Sam’s autism and help him fit in and believe in himself.

In her post, Fleischman writes, “More people like Sam need to be seen, heard and given a chance to thrive and dance,” and while that’s definitely the big take-away from this story, the world also needs more people like Chris. As society evolves and becomes more educated about those with ASD, it’s stories like this that will show us how important it is that we make every effort to include those on the spectrum and make them feel good about themselves.

Fleischman writes that Sam told his parents after becoming a barista, that for the first time, his life had real meaning. Because of his determination to succeed and his manager’s incredible attitude, he’s now happily working and feeling included. For parents with children on the spectrum, a story like this gives them hope — that their child may one day have people in their corner willing to help them adapt in the workplace when needed.

Stories like this going viral are the very best reason for the internet to exist. Let’s hope they continue to spread so more people act as Chris did. And so people like Sam know that their life absolutely has meaning.

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