At the Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Florida, most of the workers have one thing in common. They all fall somewhere along the autism spectrum.
As young adults they spend their lives being taken care of by the school system. Once they age out though, autistic workers have little structure and face a 90 percent unemployment rate.
The business was started by John D’Eri when he saw the lack of employment opportunities for his son Andrew, who has autism. Their enthusiasm for the work and inherent eye for detail make autistic workers perfect for this kind of work.
In fact, Tom D’Eri, the CEO of the company (and Andrew’s older brother) explains the company’s view of autism:
We view autism as one of our key competitive advantages.
In the above video, John shares his motivation behind starting the business: “I don’t want him to sit in a room, taken care of by others once I’m gone,” he says. “I want him to have a life, I want him to have a job. I want him to have friends that are like him.”
Rising Tide Car Wash has 43 employees, and 35 of them are on the autism spectrum. The business gives its workers options after they age out of the school system. A dangerous problem in the autism community is the lack of structure and support after kids reach their 20s.
By providing meaningful employment and structure, the D’Eri family hopes to inspire others to help those affected with this condition.
People who are changing the world for the better are my favorite kind of people.