On Friday, Donald Simon, 26, who is autistic and non-verbal and from Annadale, N.Y., visited a Staten Island Dunkin’ Donuts. He was with his aid, Angela Jasmine, who also takes him to basketball, pottery and piano lessons.
Employee Bryan Lara came to their table to say hello. “When we’re not too busy, I always make a point to talk to my customers,” Lara, 36, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I know most people’s names and their drink orders.”
Sometimes the Staff at Dunkin Donuts does a floor show to ensure their Special guests are having fun! Thank you for rolling out the red carpet for Donald… at the Dunkin’ near Trader Joe’s. #Dunkin’ #autism #ellen #statenislandadvance #DunkinDonutsDancingDude #SpectrumNewsNY1 #humankindness
Posted by Donna Maxon on Friday, January 4, 2019
Simon asked for Lara’s name several times and mirrored his movements, and Jasmine explained that he had autism. So when the Culture Club song “Karma Chameleon” played over the store’s speakers, Lara started dancing, and Simon copied all his moves.
Then, Lara says, “Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’ came on, and I asked Donald’s aid to film us.” The five-year employee started shaking his hips and Simon did a little chair dance, gave a thumbs-up and then high-fived Lara.
Jasmine sent the recording to Simon’s mother Donna Maxon, who put it on Facebook, writing, “Sometimes the Staff at Dunkin Donuts does a floor show to ensure their Special guests are having fun! Thank you for rolling out the red carpet for Donald…”
Maxon tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Simon made a friend. “When you’re on the spectrum and non-verbal, the word ‘friend’ isn’t used that much, and it touches the heart of a special-needs mom.”
She’s surprised that Lara connected with her son without special-needs training. “Bryan has shined a light for so many people… It’s human kindness,” Maxon says.
“I am always dancing, and when I saw Donald smile, it was a great feeling,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I love my customers so much.”
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