Friday, February 13, 2015

Tim's Place: Where Dreams Come True and Hugs are Free

 by Nomad

As owner of the "World's Friendliest Restaurant," Tim Harris offers a free hug and an example of his positive attitude to his customers.

When Tim Harris opened his Albuquerque, New Mexico restaurant in 2010, one of his goals was to create the "World's Friendliest Restaurant."
In addition to diner favorites, which includes delicious home-style Southwestern/American dishes. Tim's Place also serves up something else: a personal hug to every customer. 

That special attention is guaranteed to, as he puts it, “improve your lease on life.” Harris has, by his reckoning, served more than 32,400 hugs and he is only getting started.
He told one reporter:
“I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends.” 
Besides his obvious enthusiasm for what he does, there's something else about Harris that makes him  unique.  He is the only restaurant owner in the United States - as far as his parents could determine-  with Down’s syndrome
That's in no way a disability for Harris.
As one source tells us:
Since age 14, he’s vowed to own a restaurant. He worked as a restaurant host in high school, and then graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with certificates in Food Service and Office Skills. After that, with his family’s help and support, Harris’ childhood dream became a reality.
That's not all. As an athlete in several sports, including poly hockey, basketball, track and field and more for the Special Olympics, Harris also has a collection of medals displayed proudly on the wall of his eatery.   In 2012, Harris hosted a dinner for the attendees of the annual Special Olympics U.S. Business Meeting. At the event, Harris told the audience    
“From the minute I was born, I always wanted to be a part of the world around me.”
Harris also wants other people with disabilities to know what they can achieve with a positive attitude.


And there's still more.
Harris formed Tim’s Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a New Mexico non-profit corporation in August 2014,  Its goal is to "inspire people from all over the world to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives via entrepreneurship and inclusion in their communities."

Harris wants to assist others with intellectual disabilities start their own business. He believes that anybody with the right support can achieve their dreams. 
As figure skater Scott Hamilton once said:
“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
Along with a hug, that's something else we can all take away from Tim's Place.