This Autistic Barista Defies the Odds

January 24th 2016

Twenty-four hours ago, a video was uploaded to Facebook that has since been viewed nearly 40,000,000 times.

The Facebook post claims the video is of a Starbucks barista named Sam who is autistic. Like some people with autism, Sam was also diagnosed with a movement disorder, a condition that results in sudden, jerky movements and an inability to keep his body still for extended periods of time.

When he was offered the position at Starbucks, Sam told his parents that his life had meaning for the first time, according to the Facebook post. Many of us don't appreciate the stability of employment — taking for granted that we have something to wake up and work towards every day.

As pointed out by the Autism Society, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2014 that a mere 19.3 percent of people with disabilities were participating in the U.S. labor force, meaning they were either seeking work or actually working. Of that 19.3 percent, almost 13 percent were unemployed.

Chris BaristaLWRM -

The unsung hero of this viral video is Sam’s manager, Chris (above). Due to his movement disorder, Sam never thought he’d be bale to work behind the bar. But the post explains that Chris worked with Sam on channeling his movements into a sort of dance routine to make drinks.

Sam, now known in his store as the "dancing barista," wasn’t an overnight success, the Facebook post explains. It took Chris a lot of hours to get Sam where he is today, but it just goes to show how people who are different can surprise us, if we just give them the chance.

Sam’s video went viral thanks to Carly Fleischmann, an autism advocate, who was diagnosed with autism as well. In a Facebook post, Carly wrote:

"My birthday is in four days and my birthday wish this year is to have this video go viral… More people like Sam need to be seen, heard and given a chance to thrive and dance."

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