Category Archives: Warm & Fuzzy

words of inspiration

Toronto Teen With Autism Dances His Way To Ellen

This story had me crying with joy. It is so rare to turn on the news and hear anything that makes you smile, so when I saw this it moved me to write about it.

Sam is a 17-year-old barista at Starbucks who likes to dance as he serves up drinks. A viral video of him busting some moves while making a drink went viral on YouTube. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? But what makes Sam’s story unique is that he has autism and despite this perceived deficiency, he is able to do his job and do it with joy. That, to me, is a gift. Not a setback, challenge or obstacle. None of the terms used to describe someone with autism who was told that he would never be employed.

Thankfully that narrow thinking doesn’t exist in everyone and one day Sam met Chris at Camp Thrive, affiliated with Integrated Services for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ISAND).  Chris is also a manager at a local Starbucks in Toronto and when Sam told him that his dream was to be a barista, he gave Sam a job. Chris looked past the autism and saw Sam, a young capable man with an aspiration. Not a disorder.

The viral video caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres and she invited Sam along with Chris to her daytime talk show.  Sam spoke about how dancing at work helps him concentrate and how appreciative he is to Chris. That’s when my eyes got misty. Where so many may have seen a hindrance, Sam found a fun way to help him work. And his boss Chris empowers him by letting him dance away. I applaud Ellen for using her show as a platform to draw attention to the discrimination towards people with disabilities and celebrating Chris and Sam. Seeing how happy he was to be on her show and how moved he was by her gift pushed me over the edge. I couldn’t stop crying as I watched this.

This story really hits home for me. Someone very close to me is autistic and my whole life I’ve seen how small minded people have treated him cruelly and told him he was different. It has impacted his confidence and social skills. It’s a daily struggle to encourage him to try new things, to reassure him that if he can’t succeed today there’s always tomorrow.

I wish there were more people like Chris who look past the disability and reach out a hand to a fellow human. If we all expanded our minds, practiced humility and offered empathy to one another, could you imagine how enriched our lives would be? I hope this story teaches those that are quick to prejudge someone because they may appear or act different, to think twice and open their hearts.

Eid Mubarak

Forgive my tardiness on this post. Eid Al Fitr, the holiday after Ramadan, was on Friday July 17th. I’ve been so wrapped up in celebrating and eating with friends and family, that I’ve been late to wish you guys a happy Eid!

Hope you guys are enjoying the holiday and celebrating with loved ones.

Buzzfeed Vortex – 27 Texts You’d Only Get From Your Best Friend

Alright so sometimes I don’t want to read something mentally stimulating. I just want pure hilarity and/or random silliness. It can’t be all work all the time.

In comes Buzzfeed to save the day. Countless late nights where I can’t fall asleep have been saved by Buzzfeed quizzes confirming I’m meant to live in Paris and I am a board game bully. But should you get sucked into their vortex of quizzes and random articles listing most memorable quotes from favourite characters on Golden Girls and Friends while at work, don’t expect to be productive at all that day.

A girlfriend of mine sent me this amazingly hilarious article the other day from Buzzfeed that had me howling with tears streaming down my face, 27 Texts You’d Only Get From Your Best Friend.

Ok what had me laughing so hard? Because not only did these texts sound ridiculous, I can relate to them way too well. I’m blessed to have a handful of best friends – a group of really awesome honest women who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves. So necessary to maintain a level of sanity in this crazy world.

Honourable mention to these following texts from the article that had me rolling.

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Communication is Key

So this isn’t rocket science, but it took me a while to even figure this out. Communication is key in maintaining any relationship – with your coworkers, siblings, friends, parents and partner. But over the years some of us have developed ways of communicating that are destructive, and that debilitate us from growing those relationships.

Whether its learned behaviour we developed by watching our parents/care givers/siblings growing up or techniques we taught ourselves to protect our feelings as a defence mechanism, at some point in our growth we’ve got to step back and examine things.

“Shouldn’t I speak up and communicate how I’m feeling right now, instead of shutting down and expecting him/her to just know what I expect them to do/say?”, maybe not in those exact words, but I wonder if we take the time to ask ourselves how best we communicate to our loved ones what we expect of them and each other?

I read a great post on Mind Body Green on 5 Communication Mistakes That Kill Relationships, and there was one key point that stood out to me:

4. Not communicating at all (or being passive aggressive)

Passive aggressiveness might be the most effective way to end a relationship. The very first rule of communication — the one that overrides any communication tip you hear — is that you have to DO IT. Not speaking to each other, only speaking defensively, and hiding behind thoughtless platitudes are all ways of shutting down communication channels. And when communication stops, whether literally or practically, that relationship will begin to die. Think about that the next time you’re about to teach someone a lesson with silence

That last part, ‘teach someone a lesson with silence’, has never worked for me. But oh how I’ve tried it. Whenever I got treated a way that I didn’t like or got a response I didn’t want from someone I cared about, I thought by being silent they’ll figure they’ve hurt me and correct the situation. Passive-aggressiveness at its finest.

All this built was resentment, frustration and disappointment. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve worked on with my relationships, all facets of them, is speaking my mind and heart openly and honestly. And with each risk of vulnerability I’ve taken, I’ve been rewarded.

This article hit home and I hope you take a look at some of those common mistakes; there might be a chance you can unlearn a pattern you’ve built and unleash an authentic side of you that is destined for greatness.