The World's Friendliest Restaurant
A couple months back I introduced you to my special son Will. Like all my kids, Will is special for a lot of reasons, none of which has to do with his Down syndrome. We all have our challenges. I’m Irish, so there’s that to deal with for me. Will has his challenges and fears — mostly that waffles will run out someday — but he handles them.
If you are a parent of someone who has special needs, or know someone who is, your dreams for them are the same as for all kids. Health, happiness and a life filled with as much joy, friends and family as they can stand. You hope they make friends, do well in school and get a job they love. My feature this month is on one such family and individual.
Breaking Good, Another Side of Albuquerque.
Tim Harris lives and works in this desert town and is 28. Tim enjoys basketball, volleyball, poly hockey, track and field, and golf. He is an excellent sailor and offshore fisherman. Tim was elected homecoming king by the highest margin of votes in his high school’s history. During graduation week, Tim was also voted Student of the Year by the administration, faculty and staff.
Tim attended Eastern New Mexico University where he graduated in the summer of 2008, earning certificates in food service and office skills. He’s worked at a variety of local restaurants including CiCi’s Pizza, Golden Corral, IHOP, Applebee’s and Peppers Bar and Grill.
Born into a family of entrepreneurs, it made sense that he would find his way to open his own restaurant, Tim’s Place. Tim called it a special place where his guests can count on comfort, food and hugs.
You might have seen, or heard of, Tim before. He has appeared in countless magazines and media outlets over the past few years as the story of his restaurant and business philosophy grew. This has led to two surprises for the Harris family, a booming public speaking career and a soon-to-air reality TV show. He recently was the keynote speaker for the annual Keller-Williams conference in front of 11,000 people!
As you know, I have always believed hugs are the key to success in any business. Customers are hungry for hugs and the businesses that provide them. In fact, this has been proved over 42,000 times at Tim’s Place.
Every year, to celebrate his birthday, Tim and his family hold an annual hug-a-thon to raise money for Firefighters Random Acts, a nonprofit run by Albuquerque firefighters. Tim’s hugs are always free, but he accepts donations for hugs with a goal of giving 2,000 hugs.
Clearly, Tim’s got it going on. Like you, he is constantly looking for ways to give back to his community. He knows they are responsible for his success. Besides the firefighters, two other favorite charities are the Special Olympics of New Mexico (www.sonm.org) and The National Down Syndrome Congress (www.ndsccenter.org). He is even starting a new one to help people with special needs to start their own businesses. Just like him. You see Tim has Down syndrome.
You could argue that he might be a success despite his challenge or because of his challenge, but why argue at all? Let’s just hug it out! Well-done Tim! Find Tim’s story on YouTube: http://bit.ly/19D5Nhp or check him out at: www.timsplaceabq.com