If you want to learn a lesson about persevering in life despite all the odds stacked against you, this is a perfect example.
Michael Coyne has struggled with many things in his life, including autism, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. Despite these challenges, Coyne has accomplished a lot, including competing in the Special Olympics. When he turned 21, he decided he wanted to join the workforce in the food service industry. But there was one major roadblock: no one was willing to hire Coyne because he is autistic.
He said, “I applied to multiple places. None of them would hire me.”
So Coyne, ever the fighter, decided he would take his life into his own hands and opened up his own coffee shop in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, called Red, White & Brew. Coyne said he will hire people with and without special needs to help run his business because he wants to help people who are autistic to integrate into regular jobs.
Red, White & Brew’s Facebook page spells out the coffee shop’s mission very clearly: “We are a family-owned coffee shop serving up more than a cup of coffee. We employ people with developmental disabilities, encourage community engagement, and change the way the world sees those with disabilities.”
Coyne’s mother Sheila helped her son get his business off the ground. She said, “As parents, we look at our kids and see the value,” Michael’s mother Sheila Coyne said. “We see what they are capable of, instead of the system that’s consistently labeling them and putting barriers.”
And, reader, if you happen to be in the area, stop by and have a visit and a coffee.