Each one of us is different and special even, in various ways, and we frequently forget to come to terms with this, and in the end judge, discriminate and reject others. For one with a disability, life is rarely easy, as they have to face a number of challenges on a day to day basis, including housing, attitudes, employment and public transport. However, having all these challenges, it is absolutely possible to overcome these challenges and chase your dreams while living with a disability. Michael Coyne is an excellent example of this.
Michael, being a Special Olympics athlete, has Bipolar Disorder, Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Even though being differently-abled, as he turned 21, he kept on applying for different jobs, but was always rejected.
He goes on to explain that even though he had completed a program in hospitality, to gain the required skills in the foodservice industry, from the many places that he had applied to, no one had wanted to hire him. It was difficult for his mother Sheila too, and she says: “It’s not easy for parents to watch your kid sit around the kitchen table while everyone else is enjoying life and coworkers, and talking about their day.” However, young Michael was resolute to thrive and was not discouraged with all the negativity, so he stopped looking for a company to hire him, he became his own boss and created his own one. After taking business classes, Michael soon opened up his own coffeehouse in North Smithfield, Rhode Island called “Red, White & Brew Coffeehouse.”
Talking about the Red, White & Brew Coffeehouse, their Facebook page ‘About’ section reads the following: “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.
We are a specialty coffeehouse, selling locally roasted coffee beans. We also sell muffins, pastries, and calzones. We share our home with The Budding Violet, a unique gift shop filled with items from local artists.”
Michael also offered local artists with disabilities a chance to show their talents in his coffeehouse, and earn a profit on their merchandise, which has brought hope to the families who are in a similar situation. He also admitted though initially, he feared that he’d hate the job, but now, he enjoys it a lot. He went on to explain that the coffeehouse is “a beacon of hope for people with disabilities.” His mother also went on to add: “We’ve had parents come in with tears in their eyes with the hope that their young children will eventually be accepted into the community.”