Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Florida hires mostly adults with autism
10:56 PM, Aug 16, 2013
4:32 PM, Aug 17, 2013
There's a reason Brandon Rogers takes a bus and a bike to get to his destination everyday:
"I have responsibility now. People can rely on me," says Rogers.
Rogers' case of autism makes interaction a challenge.
Until Rising Tide Car Wash in Parkland, Florida opened in April, he was in the 81 percent of adults without a job, according to the LA-based Center for Autism and Related Disorders.
After two years of unemployment, he is now greeting customers.
"I feel better about myself. More confident. I can speak to people more easily, " says Rogers.
At Rising Tide, 37 of the 45 workers are adults with mostly high-functioning autism.
"We as a society look at autism as a disability that requires sympathy, instead of a diversity that can be valuable in the workplace," said Tom D'Eri, the co-founder of Rising Tide.
D'Eri started Rising Tide after he saw his brother, who has autism, struggle to enter the mainstream.
"There have been some great businesses out there that do employ people with autism. But there has yet to be a brand that consumers can recognize that is about autism empowerment. That's what we want to be," said D'Eri.
Rogers says the daily work has behavioral problems largely behind him.
Now college is on his radar.
"I said look, I was doing the wrong things. I see it this way, now I can do it this way, make more friends and be better in school," said D'Eri.
They only opened four months ago, but two of the adults who work here are about ready to be promoted to manager.